Rise in lightning deaths in Odisha: Climate change, erratic monsoon to be blamed

Bhubaneswar: Concerns are now being expressed over alarming rise in the number of lightning deaths in Odisha. In the past two days, at least ten persons have been killed in separate lightning strikes.

As per official records, as many as 1,256 people have been killed in lightning strikes in the past three years in Odisha. These deaths account for nearly 27 percent of the total deaths due to natural disasters.

Nearly 400 people died due to lightning strikes during 2018-19 with highest 130 deaths being reported from Mayurbhanj followed by 95 deaths in Balasore district.

As many as 399 people had lost their lives in lightning strikes in 2015-16, while the casualties were 397 and 460 during 2016-17 and 2017-18, respectively.

Most of the lighting deaths were reported between May and September. Out of the total deaths in the last three years, 1,069 deaths (about 85 per cent) have occurred between May and September.

According to experts, climate change and inconsistent monsoon are to be blamed for rise in lightning activities in Odisha. Besides, the amount of aerosol has increased in the air, which is why lightning strikes are more frequent now-a–days.

“Due to intense ground heating and moisture, lightning occurs. But this time the frequency of lightning is noticeably high,” said meteorologist Sarat Chandra Sahu.