The incidents of lightning may reach its peak in the next two months (June-July) across the country, a meteorologist warns.
Lightning reportedly left 79 people dead and 21 injured across Bangladesh from January to April this year with April accounting for the maximum 70 fatalities. Of the 70 deaths in April, 57 were from wetland areas.
“No thunderstorm usually occurred in January due to severe cold temperature. However, a thunderstorm killed three people. No casualties reported in February while six people were killed in March and 70 fatalities in April,” meteorologist Enamul Haq told the Bangladesh Post.
“It could rise further; lightning clouds are formed by the combination of hot and cold winds,” he said adding the government spent crores of taka to install radars to forecast lightning but the death toll did not drop.
Citing deforestation increases lightning, Emdad recommended construction of sheds on agricultural lands, installation of lightning protection devices, planting of tall trees, and
He advised to raise signal system for lightning like other disasters and create widespread awareness among people.
The expert advised people to stay careful while going out during the nor’wester time.
So far this year, 87 percent of lightning fatalities are from Sunamganj and Netrokona's wetlands. Because of nor’wester, farmers need to be more careful when working pon the open field, he added.
However, if one or two kilometers of brick-made houses are built in these lightening prone areas, farmers can take shelter there and survive.
Bangladesh accounts more fatalities by lightning comparing to other South Asian countries due to its geographical location.
Professor MA Farooq told the Bangladesh Post, the temperature did not rise as much as the last year. The thunderstorm season usually starts in April and ends in September.
“This year, thunderstorm season will prolong from May to mid-October and lightning may hit more in May to July,” said Farooq, who teaches Environmental Sciences at Bangladesh Agricultural University,
In 2016, the government included lightning in the list of national disasters.
Data from the disaster management ministry shows, 2,081 people died in lightning strikes in the country over the past decade with maximum 359 fatalities in 2018 alone.