Rising deaths from lightning worry NEOC

Kathmandu, January 30

In the wake of frequent deaths from lightning, the National Emergency Operation Centre under the Ministry of Home Affairs has appealed to all to take necessary precautions against the lightning, both indoors and outdoors.

Two persons, including a girl child, were killed after being struck by lightening in Dadeldhura on January 22. On December 25, it took two lives in Banke and Chitwan.

“During the electrical storm, no one should use electronic equipment and mobile phones. Don’’t keep the doors and window open and avoid taking bath and washing dishes from taps directly. Always use collected water for taking bath while staying indoors,” NEOC suggested.

It also advised all not to take shelter under the tree, swim, go fishing in river or lake, and enjoy boating. “Always avoid the crowd, playground, open space and driving or riding,” NEOC alerted. Lightning has emerged as the second deadliest natural disaster in recent times.

According to statistics of NEOC at the Ministry of Home Affairs, as many as 773 persons were killed and 1,695 injured after being struck by lightning over a period of seven years (2068 to 2074 BS).

Similarly, 45 persons lost their lives and 206 others injured till Magh 7 (January 21) of 2075 BS. The highest numbers of people were killed by thunderbolt in the months of February, March, April, June, July, August and September.

It warned that the number of deaths caused by lightning had been increasing since 2066 BS due to lack of awareness. An analysis of distribution of human deaths in different districts shows that amongst various disasters, lightning has caused more human deaths in 44 districts. If the 8,977 deaths and 22,462 injuries caused by the devastating 7.6 magnitude earthquake of April 25, 2015 and its subsequent aftershocks are excluded from the data of seven years, lightning casualties outnumber toll from all other types of natural disasters.

Although districts of all the development and ecological regions have been affected by lightning, casualty is more predominant in central and eastern hills and eastern Tarai. It mainly occurs before the onset of and immediately after monsoon due to the natural electrical discharge within the atmosphere and the imbalance between positive and negative charges, according to Nepal Disaster Report, 2016.

The Disaster Victim Rescue and Relief Standards (Sixth Amendment) requires district disaster relief committees to provide a cash relief of Rs 100,000 to the grieving family of each victim killed in the disasters. Similarly, it stipulates a provision of immediate cash relief of Rs 10,000 after disaster for each household that has lost its home or food supplies. Nepal is facing the wrath of natural and human induced disasters with greater frequency and intensity. It is one of the countries most vulnerable to disasters.