Two Dead, 3 Critical In Lightning Strikes; 5,706 Lives Lost In 20 Years In Odisha, Says Study
Bhubaneswar: Two persons were reportedly killed while three sustained critical injuries in lightning strikes in Odisha on Friday.
The deceased have been identified as Nrusingha Jena and Kanhu Jena of Baharipur village under Hatadihi block in Keonjhar district. The three injured belong to Nandipur area in Bhadrak district.
According to sources, Kanhu and Nrusingha were struck by lightning while heading to a field for work. They collapsed on the spot and were rushed to a local hospital by their neighbours. However, the duo was declared dead in the hospital. A case has been registered and police have sent the bodies for postmortem.
According to a global study by six universities in India and Brazil, 21.73 lakh lightning strikes have claimed 5,706 lives across Odisha in the last two decades.
One of the authors of the study and Professor at the Department of Geography of FM University Manoranjan Mishra told TNIE that there has been an increase in the annual trend of deaths after 2013 and these have been reported from districts with mostly rural population and at the highest altitudes.
He attributed it to a possible increase in thunderstorm activities and convective weather in Indian sub-continent and the thunderstorm intensification.
While Odisha was hit by over 10,000 strikes every year between 2000 and 2020, except for 2001, 2017, and 2018; 2017-18, and 2001-02 periods registered the highest (465) and the lowest (174) fatalities, respectively. Mayurbhanj district registered the highest 522 deaths, followed by Ganjam (359) and Dhenkanal (348). Boudh (43) saw the least number of fatalities.
Cuttack and Ganjam contributed heavily to coastal plain fatalities, while Dhenkanal and Balangir contributed to the central region and Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj and Sundargarh to the northern plateau region, the study added.