Govt issues lightning safety tips

We must build awareness to minimise casualties

Published : 24 May 2023 08:03 PM

The government has issued some precautionary measures to avoid deaths and injuries by lightning strikes, which have already been declared a national disaster. Lightning strikes kill 250 people on an average every year in the country, according to the Bangladesh Meteorological Department. It is worth mentioning that nine people including a woman died after being struck by lightning in Narsingdi, Chandpur, Kurigram, Brahmanbaria districts on Tuesday.

Deaths due to lightning strikes are common in Bangladesh during this time of the year. Scientists say there is a correlation between lightning strikes and temperature. From April-July, the temperature remains humid and warm, leading to an increase in such incidents.

Bangladesh has seen a surge in deaths due to lightning strike over the past few years and experts have blamed the situation directly on climate change. However, it is disconcerting to note that although various initiatives have been taken in different countries to prevent deaths from lightning, in Bangladesh such initiatives are almost non-existence.

Awareness building at individual and 

community levels has become pertinent

 in order to bring down the number of 

deaths and injuries from lightning

Deaths from lightning strikes have been on the rise mainly due to lack of awareness, whereas many deaths could be avoided if the meteorological department effectively broadcast early warnings on looming thunderbolts. Hence, the Met office should effectively broadcast early warnings on thunderbolts, especially in the season of Nor’westers.

On an average, about 300 to 400 people die in lightning strikes every year. Reportedly, more than 2,000 people were killed in lightning incidents in the country over the past seven years. It is apprehended that the exact number of casualties from lightning could be much higher as many cases go unreported. Meteorological department claimed that thunderbolt warnings are issued regularly, but people are not aware of those alerts.

Awareness building at individual and community levels has become pertinent in order to bring down the number of deaths and injuries from lightning. Given the risk or dangers of thunderstorms that are supposed to loom large in the coming days, we suggest people to stay away from tall trees, electric poles and towers, and take shelter under a concrete ceiling during thunderbolts and follow the basic anti-lighting strikes rules. As a long-term initiative, tree plantation can help develop a natural canopy against storms and thunderbolts.