Every year, lightning strikeskill around two thousand people on average in the Asian subcontinent and this year, mother nature has managed to strike down tens of people in just 24 hours. Officials have reported at least 38 deaths across several states in India so far.
A majority of the deaths took place in Western Rajasthan, where eleven people lost their lives when they were on top of a 12th century watch tower in the city of Jaipur. According to senior police officer, Anand Shrivastava, most of the deceased were young people who were just trying to get a selfie in the rain.
There were around 27 people present on the tower when the lightning struck down, and those who escaped death suffered a few injuries. Some people also reportedly jumped to the ground in fear of being hit.
In the state of Uttar Pradesh, 18 people were killed on Sunday and most of them were farm labourers working in the field. Two of the people were seeking shelter under a tree when they got electrified and they died on the spot. The government of India has since announced that they would be providing financial assistance to the families of the victims.
The India Meteorological Department has said that parts of the country will be seeing more lightning in the next two days.
Staying safe from lightning
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that ‘the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are less than 1 in a million’ but there are safety precautions everyone should take when thunderstorms hit.
The first thing you should do is rush indoors. Don’t hide under a tree, instead try to find a shelter that will protect you from the lightning. It can be your home, an office, shopping centres, or even a car with all the windows rolled up.
In case you find yourself in an open space and there are no buildings close by, crouch down and roll into a ball. Tuck your head in into your legs and cover your ears. Stay away from any ponds, lakes, hills, mountain ridges and cliffs.