Lightning claims 110 lives in UP, Bihar in two days

Patna/Lucknow: Thunderstorms and lightning have wrought havoc in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh over the past two days, claiming 110 lives, leaving at least 32 injured and causing widespread damage to property, officials in the two states said on Thursday.

The lightning strikes were more devastating in Bihar, where 83 people have lost their lives since Wednesday, according to the figures released on Thursday by the Disaster Management Department in Patna.

More than 20 people have been injured in these incidents and hospitalised, they said.

Gopalganj: Family members mourn near the mortal remains of a victim who died in lightning strikes, in Gopalganj, Thursday, June 25, 2020. Gopalganj district reported the highest number of deaths, at 13, followed by five in Darbhanga, four in Siwan and two each in Madhubani and West Champaran districts. (PTI Photo)(PTI25-06-2020_000211B)

Meanwhile, in the neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, at least 24 people died when they were struck by lightning on Thursday, while 12 were injured, officials said in Lucknow.

Three had perished to lightning strikes in the state on Wednesday, they said.

Coming back to Bihar, the state’s Disaster Management Department said that Gopalganj district accounted for the maximum number of casualties at 13.

Other deaths were reported from: Nawada and Madhubani (eight each); Siwan and Bhagalpur (six each); East Champaran, Darbhanga and Banka (five each); Khagaria and Aurangabad (three each); West Champaran, Kishanganj, Jehanabad, Jamui, Purnea, Supaul, Buxar and Kaimur (two each); and Samastipur, Sheohar, Saran, Sitmarhi, Madhepura (one each), it said.

Gopalganj: Family members of victims who were killed in lightning strikes, mourn, in Gopalganj, Thursday, June 25, 2020. Gopalganj district reported the highest number of deaths, at 13, followed by five in Darbhanga, four in Siwan and two each in Madhubani and West Champaran districts. (PTI Photo)(PTI25-06-2020_000201B)

The lightning has also caused widespread damage to houses and belongings of the residents.

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In Uttar Pradesh, nine people were killed in Deoria, six in Prayagraj, three in Ambedkar Nagar, two in Barabanki, and one each in Kushinagar, Pratapgarh, Balrampur and Unnao, an official report released in Lucknow said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives. “Received tragic news about death of several people in some districts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar due to heavy rains and lightening. The state governments are engaged in relief work with promptness,” he tweeted in Hindi.

Madhubani: Family members of victims who were killed in lightning strikes, mourn near their mortal remains, in Madhubani, Thursday, June 25, 2020. Gopalganj district reported the highest number of deaths, at 13, followed by five in Darbhanga, four in Siwan and two each in Madhubani and West Champaran districts. (PTI Photo)(PTI25-06-2020_000208B)

Expressing grief over the deaths, the two chief ministers announced a payment of Rs 4 lakh as ex gratia to the next of the kin of each deceased in their respective states.

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Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar appealed to the people of the state to remain alert and stay indoors as far as possible during bad weather conditions. He also asked them to follow advisories issued by the Disaster Management Department in this regard.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also directed officials to provide best healthcare facilities to those injured.

Meanwhile, the weather department in Patna has forecast that inclement weather could persist for some more days.

An IMD release said thunderstorms are likely to lash all the 38 districts of the state over the next few days along with “heavy to very heavy rainfall” in the northern, flood-prone districts, bordering Nepal.

The Met department in Lucknow has forecast heavy rain at isolated places over east UP on June 26.

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