An incredible tragedy occurred in India over the weekend when at least 76 people were killed in lightning strikes around the country. It was during a major storm and amidst the strikes, a number of different people were said to have been taking selfies of the storm. In trying to get themselves to different positions to photograph the lightning, they were killed during the storm. It’s an incredibly sad story.
The lightning strikes in India were part of the beginning of monsoon season in the country, a time that sees incredibly fierce storms throughout the country. These latest strikes weren’t confined to one area but rather spread out through a number of different states. One of the places that saw the deadly lightning strikes was at Amer Fort on Sunday. The tourist attraction draws thousands of visitors each year and during this storm saw groups of people huddle together in towers for cover when the rain intensified. Lighting struck the towers and many were killed.
The deaths involved in this lightning strike weren’t all from people being hit by the bolts themselves. The storm, which came in the evening on Sunday, reached such an intensity that the strikes actually took down part of the fort. While some were hit by the lightning itself others we killed when part of the structure toppled and caused major damage to the area. This led to officials having to clear debris and search the surrounding area for those affected.
Again, these storms were prevalent all over the country and lightning killed more than 40 people in the state of Uttar Pradesh which is more than 400 miles away from Amer Fort. These deaths do not appear to be in a concentrated area like they were with the tourist attraction. It speaks more to the danger throughout the country during this time of year in India. The monsoon season storms are fierce and unrelenting. They typically last from the months of June to September so this isn’t likely the last we hear of these tragedies.
These lighting strikes continue to cause major damage and even death in India every year. According to the country’s National Crime Records Bureau lightning killed almost 3,000 people in 2019. And that wasn’t an outlier number either. This is around the number reported each of the previous two years as well. Even for a country with over 1.3 billion people, that’s a staggering number. By comparison, the United States averages around 50 deaths per year from lightning and this year there haven’t been any reported. It goes to show just the stark differences in these kinds of storms from one part of the world to another.
The Indian government has already announced that they will be compensating each of the families who lost someone over the weekend in these lightning strikes. That compensation would go to those injured as well. This continues to be a problem every year in India and this past weekend was one of their most tragic yet.