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Series lightning strikes 20 people have died in the eastern Indian state of Bihar in less than 24 hours as more extreme weather is expected in the coming days.
Forecasts show that thunderstorms are expected to continue in the upstate on Wednesday and Thursday. BBC. Deadly lightning strikes caused by monsoon rains kill hundreds of people every year in India, with more than 3,000 deaths in 2019. Times of India. Deaths have been reported in 8 districts of Bihar.
Nitish Kumar, Bihar’s chief minister, urged citizens to follow government safety procedures to avoid injury or death, promising to compensate the families of the victims.
“Follow recommendations issued from time to time by the Disaster Management Department to stay safe during thunderstorms. Stay indoors and stay safe during bad weather,” Nitish said in a statement on Tuesday. Experts noted that the state’s geographic location facilitates lightning strikes during monsoon storms.
Kumar said that each of the victims’ families in Bihar would receive Rs 400,000 in compensation, equivalent to US$5,000. Earlier on July 24, the chief minister warned of the deadly potential of these storms and asked officials to install lightning rods in schools, hospitals and government buildings.
One of the main factors contributing to the increase in extreme weather deaths in India is the large number of people working outdoors in rural and urban areas.
According to a study by the Council for the Advancement of Climate Resilient Observing Systems, the number of lightning strikes has increased by 34%, with more than 18 million lightning strikes occurring in India from April 2020 to March 2021.
The BBC notes that the increase in lightning strikes in India is also shown using satellite data from 1995 to 2014.