Alarming rise in lightning deaths

Build awareness to save lives

Published : 27 Mar 2023 08:55 PM | Updated : 27 Mar 2023 08:55 PM

Three fishermen were killed in lightning strikes at Naria Upazila in Shariatpur district. They met the tragic end of their lives while catching fish at Bahirkushia village on Sunday afternoon. Suddenly, the rain began to fall while thunderbolts struck the fishermen, leaving them dead on the spot.

Earlier on March 15, three more people died and one got injured after being struck by lightning at Zajira and Bhedarganj in the district. Besides, a farmer was killed by lightning strike at village Heluchia under Barhatta upazila of Netrakona district on March 14.

According to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, at least 200 people die every year on average in lightning strikes -- more than from floods, cyclones and other natural calamities. The entire Dhaka and Sylhet divisions, Bogura, Pabna, Sirajganj, Cumilla and Jashore are prone to thunderbolt strikes. The incidents of lightning strikes in the country are gradually increasing due to rising temperature and climate variability caused by global warming, taking its heavy toll on human lives in recent years, experts say.

The Disaster Management Ministry 

and the Meteorological Department 

should carry out a vigorous campaign

 to make people aware of

 lightning preparedness

About 70 percent of the total lightning strikes usually occur between April and June. Rising temperature, erratic rainfall and abnormal behaviour of weather are contributing to the recurrence of thunderbolt strikes.

Temperature in the country marked a rise this year which is the main cause for increased incidents of lighting. People cannot resist thunderstorms, but minimise their losses by creating lightning awareness. Therefore, awareness programs should be launched in every corner of the country alongside all educational institutions.

All should move with caution during the pre-monsoon period (April-May). The government should include the subject of thunderstorm awareness in textbooks, with an aim to be studied at each and every educational institution.

However, people should not get panicked but keep in mind the appropriate steps one needs to take during lightning strikes and they need to check the weather forecast before participating in outdoor activities.

The Disaster Management Ministry and the Meteorological Department should carry out a vigorous campaign to make people aware of lightning preparedness. We cannot stop the lighting strikes, but we can save lives by informing people what they should do during lighting.