The government has undertaken special projects to reduce deaths from thunderstorms. The project includes constructing special towers used to attract high voltage electrical charges produced in the cloud during thunderstorms and release its energy down into the ground.
Lightening took 246 lives of people across the country in just 7 months of 2019, according to a report of Save the Society and Thunderstorm Awareness Forum (SSTF).
Of them 97 were injured. The departed list contains 202 men, 30 women, 6 children, and 8 teenagers.
Bangladesh is at the highest risk of thunderstorms among SAARC countries. The death toll is higher than in other countries.
Lightning expert Dr Munir Ahmed said, “Every year due to lack of awareness, many people are getting killed and losing property due to lightning,”
“However, deaths and loss of property can be minimized through proper awareness programmes,” he added.
Abdul Awal Chowdhury, Vice President of SSTF, said, “More than 2,000 people died in lightning strikes from April 2010 to April 8 last year, according to the disaster management department, BUET, disaster forum, media and multiple voluntary organizations.”
“This is the prerequisite to launching awareness programs in the educational institutions in the textbook. In many countries of Europe, educational institutions give special lessons about the thunderstorm,” he added.
In the meantime, to tackle the thunderstorm the government took a few initiatives. Thirty-one lakh palm trees have been planted countrywide to reduce losses from lightening.
The Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief has taken several initiatives to reduce the casualties in thunderstorms in the rainy season.
Social and technological programs are being implemented to prevent the rising trends in deaths from thunderstorms.
However, the priority of the program is to plant palm trees. Besides, the project has been undertaken to construct a thunderbolt security tower and a one-storey shelter in the wetland (haor) area at different places of the country including the capital.
Sources in the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief said, various projects have been taken to minimize the effects of thunderstorms, like they have done in Vietnam and Thailand. Meanwhile, several ministry officials have been trained in these two countries on such techniques.
Trained officials are preparing a master plan on how lightning towers can be set up in the capital Dhaka and somewhere in the country. The tower will be set up according to the plan.
Officials said, that the death toll in thunderstorms has been reduced by building towers in Vietnam. Therefore, in thunderstorm prone areas, equal importance is being given to both plantation and tower construction.