Dhaka, May 13: The death toll from lightning in Bangladesh today rose to 35, including children and women, as thundershowers struck Dhaka and other parts of the country after a week of scorching heat, officials said today.
Meteorological office said a much-waited downpour brought with it thundershowers in 14 districts including Dhaka.
The lightning that accompanied the seasonal nor'wester storms claimed the highest eight lives in northwestern Pabna, five each in neighbouring Sirajganj and Rajshahi districts. Four persons died in Kishoreganj and Brahmanbarhia each, reports said.
In Dhaka, sudden thunderbolts killed two engineering students when they were playing football in the rain.
Seven more deaths were reported from other parts of the country. The casualties included a number of children who were playing in open grounds during the rain but mostly the victims were farmers, including women, who were in their fields.
Rains appeared as a welcome shower after a mild heat wave scorched the country, but the downpour brought with it the lightning to cause the unusually high number of casualties. "Bangladesh witnesses the seasonal nor'wester storm every year from March to May when the thunderbolts also occur," meteorologist Hafizur Rahman said adding that the phenomenon appears mostly in northwestern Rajsahi and Sylhet regions.
Fellow meteorologist Sujit Kumar Deb Sharma said lightning kills up to 300 people on an average each year in Bangladesh though not all the incidents were not reported in the media.
The Met office has predicted rain or thundershowers with gusty or squally wind today in Dhaka, and in northwestern and northeastern regions. Some areas in southwestern and northwestern parts of the country may also recieve rain and thundershowers.