At least 104 people have been killed by lightning strikes as heavy monsoon storms swept India’s eastern and northern states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh on Thursday, officials said.
Officials at the disaster management control room in state capital Patna said that 83 people were killed across various districts in Bihar.
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“The deaths have been reported just as the monsoon arrived in Bihar and neighbouring regions. The victims were mostly farmers or the homeless who were outdoors,” disaster management official Umesh Singh said.
According to Singh, several others were injured as high-speed winds and rains felled trees, electricity poles and brought down thatched homes and temporary structures.
“Twenty-three of Bihar’s 38 districts confirmed deaths in the wake of the storms, with the district of Gopalgunj reporting the most fatalities, at 13.
“The injured were being treated at hospitals,” he added.
The numbers represent the highest single-day death toll in Bihar due to lightning strikes in several years, senior disaster management official Avinash Kumar said.
Dozens of people die from lightning strikes in the region every year during the storms which are common in India during the monsoon season that stretches between June and September.
In two recent years, 2015 and 2017, Bihar saw more than 50 casualties from lightning strikes on one single day, Kumar said.
Officials said that 21 deaths were reported in similar circumstances across five districts of neighbouring Uttar Pradesh.
The death toll from the heavy storms was likely to increase, as officials were collecting details of damage from across districts in both states.
The weather bureau has forecast more storms in India for the coming days.(dpa/NAN)