Nearly 50 people were killed by lightning in India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh last week, the Associated Press (AP) reported on Thursday, noting that India has reported nearly 750 lightning deaths nationwide since April. .
“Seven people, mostly farmers, were killed by lightning in a village [Kaushambi] in the state of Uttar Pradesh in northern India [on July 26]police said Thursday, bringing the death toll from lightning strikes to 49 people in the state this week,” the AP reported July 28.
The seven people killed by lightning on the outskirts of Kaushambi on July 26 were part of a group that was caught in a sudden storm while walking in the open. The group tried to take shelter under some nearby trees when lightning struck and killed seven of their members.
“The victims included four family members and a few herders,” local police officer Hem Raj Meena told the AP.
Tragically, the seven lightning victims in Kaushambi on July 26 were not the only people to die from the natural phenomenon in Uttar Pradesh that day. State government officials issued a statement this week confirming that another five people were killed by lightning on Tuesday in the town of Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh. The press release further revealed that another six people died from lightning on July 25 in the Uttar Pradesh cities of Ghazipur (4) and Bhadohi (2).
“Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath expressed regret at the loss of life and directed the authorities to provide financial assistance of ₹4 lakh. [$5,026.91 USD] to the family of each deceased in Bhadohi and Kaushambi [sic],” the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported on 27 July.
A total of 18 people died from injuries sustained during electrical storms in Uttar Pradesh in the 48-hour period between 25 and 26 July. the best ways to protect yourself from electrical shocks during severe storms.
“People are dying more from lightning than from rain-related incidents, although this is the time when people (usually) die from floods or other rain-related incidents,” said Uttar Pradesh government spokesman, Shishir Singh, to the AP on July 28.
Singh referred to India’s annual monsoon season, which lasts from June to September and causes heavy storms across the Indian subcontinent.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers the following advice for people to avoid being struck by lightning:
If you are caught outside with no safe shelter nearby, the following actions can reduce your risk of being struck by lightning: Immediately exit elevated areas such as hills, ridges, or peaks. Never lie on the floor. Squat into a ball position with your head bent and your hands over your ears so you’re low with minimal contact with the floor.
Never take shelter under an isolated tree. If you are in a forest, take shelter near lower trees. Never use a cliff or rocky ledge as a shelter. Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water. Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (like barbed wire fences, power lines, or windmills).
The seven people who died near Kaushambi on July 26 “took shelter under trees” immediately before being fatally struck by lightning, according to the AP. Three of the four lightning victims in Ghazipur on July 25 tried to take shelter under a tree moments before their deaths, the PTI revealed.
“[F]our people, including three cousins, died after being struck by lightning in separate incidents, police said,” the news agency said.
“On Monday night, three cousins took shelter under a tree on the outskirts of Mastipur village, in the Bhudkuda Kotwali police station area. They died after being struck by lightning,” according to the PTI.