Lightning, heavy rains kill 36 in northern India

International Desk Published: 24 September 2022, 08:57 PM
Lightning, heavy rains kill 36 in northern India
Representational Photo (Unsplash)

Hazardous weather has killed at least 36 people in northern India over the past 24 hours, including 12 who were struck by lightning, officials said.

Across the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, at least 24 people died after their homes collapsed amid unrelenting rains, relief commissioner Shri Ranvir Prasad said.

Mohamed Usman, 15, was on his friend’s roof in the city of Prayagraj when lightning struck on Friday evening, killing him instantly. His friend Aznan was injured and is being treated in a hospital.

“As soon as they set foot on the roof, they were hit by lightning and my son died,” said Mohammad Ayub, Usman’s father.

Officials said 39 people had been killed by lightning in the past five days, prompting authorities to issue new guidelines advising people how to protect themselves during a thunderstorm.

Lightning strikes are common during India’s monsoon season, which runs from June to September.

Col Sanjay Srivastava, whose organisation Lightning Resilient India Campaign works with the Indian Meteorological Department, said deforestation, pollution and the depletion of bodies of water all contributed to climate breakdown, which was leading to more lightning.

Global heating had increased the frequency of lightning, said Sunita Narain, director general at the Center for Science and Environment. A 1C rise in temperature increases lightning by 12 times.

There has been a 34% rise in lightning strikes across India over the past year, which has caused deaths to jump. India recorded 1,489 deaths due to lightning in 2016, compared with 2,869 in 2021, said Srivastava.

Source: The Guardian/AP