Lightning killed more than 300 in Jharkhand in 2020-21: government data

Lightning killed more than 300 in Jharkhand in 2020-21: government data

Jharkhand recorded 322 human deaths and 88 animal deaths due to lightning in 2020-21, the highest in the past three financial years, according to data released to the State Assembly in response to a question from a Jharkhand Mukti Morcha MLA Sudivya Kumar.

This is the first time the state has released such specific data. Previously, the Council for the Promotion of Climate Resilient Observing Systems (CROPC), a non-profit organization working closely with the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), released an all-India report in December 20202 , which stated that in Jharkhand in 2018-19 and 2019-2020, 118 and 172 people died respectively.

To MLA Kumar’s inquiry about the number of lightning deaths and whether lightning rods have been installed in all districts, Disaster Management Minister Banna Gupta replied in writing: “332 and 882 animals died in 2020-21 .. There is no provision to install lightning rods through the State Disaster Response Fund according to the criteria of the central government. “

According to CROPC, lightning deaths account for 33 percent of total deaths from natural disasters in the country. Between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020, India recorded 1,771 deaths from lightning: Uttar Pradesh recorded 293 deaths, Madhya Pradesh reported 248 deaths, Bihar reported 221 deaths, Odisha reported 200 deaths, and Jharkhand reported 172 deaths. These five states in total accounted for more than 60 percent of lightning deaths.

CROPC Chairman Colonel (Retired) Sanjay Kumar Srivastava said The Indian Express that each year the lightning strikes occurred around a fixed period and nearly similar geographic locations in similar patterns. “Norwesters, which are violent thunderstorms with lightning come to life in eastern India and pre-monsoon lightning kills in Bihar, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, UP among other states,” he said.

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On Jharkhand, he added: “Every year, people die in Jharkhand and have not learned from Odisha, which had zero casualties in 2019 during Cyclone Fani, mainly because the 891 cyclone shelters are equipped with lightning rods … Furthermore, The Jharkhand government response that there is no provision for the installation of lightning rods is incorrect because the NDMA has sent out guidelines to do so. Although Lightning is not a state-notified disaster, the state government like Jharkhand can report any local disaster to a state. “

However, sources from the State Disaster Management said the provision is only for disaster response, not mitigation. “Preventing deaths due to lightning is disaster mitigation. As for the response, there are no funds … Now, the Center is planning mitigation and a detailed guide has not yet been issued ”.

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