Lightning kills 67 in Kishoreganj in last four years

Published : 16 Jun 2023 09:23 PM

In recent years, the deaths from lightning strikes in Bangladesh have increased significantly. 

At least 67 people were killed in lightning strikes in the last four and half years and around 9 others were injured in Kishoreganj. Mainly men working outdoors in villages are losing their lives in lightning strikes. As a result, many families are becoming destitute.

At least 340 people, including 239 men and 12 children, were killed across Bangladesh by lightning strikes from April 2022 to May 3, 2023 , according to a report published by the Save the Society and Thunderstorm Awareness Forum. 

The government identified the thunderstorm as a natural disaster for the first time. Then a special plan was taken to prevent lightning and a warning programme was started. But still the death does not stop.

In Kishoreganj, 59 male, of them 36 were farmers, 4 women and 4 children were killed in lightning strike in the last four and half years. Through the government’s initiative to reduce deaths from lightning strikes, locals alleged that there are no preventive measures to lessen unwanted deaths from the strike.

Kishoreganj is the most lightning strikes prone district in the country. Mainly men working outdoors in villages are losing their lives in lightning strikes. 

District Relief & Rehabilitation Office sources said that 19 people were killed in lightning strikes in 2019, 11 people in 2020, 16 people in 2021, 10 people in 2022 and 13 people till June 16, 2023.

Kishoreganj  district has no lightning arrester system, lightning shelter and early warning for lightning, said source from the District Relief & Rehabilitation center.

Experts said that there are two main reasons for increasing deaths from the strike. Due to global warming, the weather and climate have changed drastically. As a result, the type and timing of rainfall has changed. Storms ‘Kalbaishakhi’ have also increased. And the number or amount of lightning has also increased. On the other hand, there were a lot of tall trees including palm, banyan etc in villages across the country. If lightning struck in the usual way, these tall trees would be able to absorb it. But now that it is not there, when lightning strikes open fields, it becomes the cause of human death. Although there are no trees in the city, there are high-rise buildings. As a result, the people of the city are getting relief from this death.

Nikli Meteorological Office said, “April and June are the most lightning strikes prone months of the year. Awareness and consciousness can reduce deaths significantly.”

Although the families of those killed in the lightning strike have been given a one-time financial assistance of only Tk 20,000 from the government, the long-term treatment of hundreds of helpless people is still largely neglected, locals alleged.

Researchers or environmentalists believe that it is just as important to complete the earthling process in rural or urban areas. Besides, it is necessary to stop cutting down trees unnecessarily and plant many more trees.

According to experts, the way the earthing system can be connected to the way mobile towers are being installed in every village can play a role in preventing lightning deaths.

The ‘Foundation for Disaster Forum’ has been researching lightning for a long time. They report that the number of people injured in the lightning strikes is unknown. However, it is estimated that four to five times more people were injured than killed.