Lightning deaths: Odisha planning massive awareness drive

Bhubaneswar: Lightning kills more people in Odisha than any other calamity in the State with the latest being death of 34 persons in last 36 hours.

Keeping this in mind and the 34 deaths in the past 36 hours has prompted the Odisha government to plan a massive awareness program to prevent casualties.

“We will educate school students and farmers on the extension system. We are presently planning to take a comprehension approach in this regard,” said Special Relief Commissioner Bishnupada Sethi.

Fear of people falling prey to lightning continues till October every year, said the director of Odisha State Disaster Management Authority Subhendra Kumar Nayak, adding: “We are planning an awareness programme on a massive scale with the help of SRC’s office and the State government.”

As many as 2,297 people have succumbed to lightning strikes in the State during last seven years with an average of 327 people being falling prey to the natural calamity every year.

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While 140 people have so far died of lightening in 2017-18, 397 persons had died last year. Similarly, 403 people in 2015-16, 311 in 2014-15 and 372 in 2013-14 have been killed in lightning.

People witness lightning during March to May and June to September period. But lightning during the latter period claims more life.

“The intensity of lightning is 70-80 per cent more during June to September. Lives can be saved if people, especially farmers, avoid going to crop fields during the day time if it is a cloudy weather from 12 noon to 4 pm,” said director of Regional Meteorological Centre Sarat Chandra Sahu.

How to stay safe from lightning?

Always pay attention to the weather and make your plan

Avoid open areas and tall objects

Stay away from objects that may conduct electricity

Don’t ride bike during bad weather

If possible, take shelter in a car

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