Odisha: 34 killed due to lightning in 36 hours
Bhubaneswar, August 1: At least 34 persons were killed due to lightning in last 36 hours in Odisha. In fact, an average of 325 people die of lightning every year in Odisha.
As many as 1623 people have succumbed to lightning strikes in the state during last five years, according to a report of the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) office. While 140 people have so far (by July 31) died of lightening in 2017-18, 397 persons had died in the same calamity last year in 2016-17.
Similarly, 403 people in 2015-16, 311 in 2014-15 and 372 in 2013-14. There is an urgent need to make people aware of how to deal with the natural calamities like lightning and remain safe, said SRC B P Sethi. Sethi said strategies are being worked out to generate awareness among the Farm workers, Kenduleaf pluckers and Self Help Groups as most of the victims of lightning are poor people and farmers, Sethi said.
Sethi said Odisha government has meanwhile declared lightning as a state specific disaster and therefore increased the ex-gratia amoung from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 4 lakh.
A report jointly prepared by the UNDP, OSDMA (Odisha State Disaster Management Authority) and Department of Geography, Utkal University, said that the spatial distribution of the events reveals their greater concentration in the districts of Cuttack, Mayurbhanj and jajpur.
Other districts, where the occurance of the lightning events is more frequent are Ganjam, Kendrapara, Khurda, Dhenkanal, Balasore and Bhadrak, the report said adding that hilly and centrally located districts of Malkangiri, Deogarh, Kandhamal, Jharsuguda, Gajapati and Rayagada witness the smallest number of lightning events.