Lightning in Bangladesh has killed at least 60 people within 24 hours as violent thunderstorms rumbled across the country. The Bangladesh Meteorological Department said the storms caused disruption across 14 districts including Dhaka. Their spokesman said that most of the fatalities occurred due to a lack of awareness.
Most of the deaths were reported in the capital, FOX News reports. The northern districts of Rajshahi, Sirajgani and Pabna were also badly hit. Experts suggest a general rise in temperatures and deforestation may be factors.
Two 20-year-old students were killed by lightning during a football match in Dhaka’s Jatrabari neighborhood. Eight others were injured as the lightning bolt struck the ground. The lightning casualties included a number of children who were playing in open grounds during the rain, but most of the victims were farmers working in their fields.
The Bangladesh rains do help to break the intense heat experienced ahead of the monsoon rains. However, the downpours are often accompanied by thunder and lightning, ABC News reported. Meteorologist Hafizur Rahman said “Bangladesh witnesses the seasonal northwestern storms every year from March to May”. They are most evident in the Rajsahi and Sylhet regions of Bangladesh and are otherwise known as kalboishakhis.
Bangladesh’s Disaster Management Department has now launched a campaign to create awareness among people so that they remain inside during thunderstorms. Lightning kills around 300 people each year across the country.
The head of the country’s disaster management body Mohammad Riaz Ahmed said he was “indeed concerned” by the rise in the number of deaths. He said further thunderstorms were predicted for later this month. Strong tropical storms regularly hit the country ahead of and during the monsoon season, which runs from June to September.
Today said that on average, strikes from lightning in Bangladesh are fatal to about 10 percent of the people who are struck. The remaining 90 survive, however, they tend to suffer from various long-term, often debilitating symptoms. The reports of casualties in the country could not be verified independently, as lightning deaths not usually monitored by government agencies.