Lightning strikes are commonplace during monsoon in Bangladesh
At least eight people were killed in lightning strikes when thunderstorms ravaged two districts of the country on Friday.
In Jamalpur, five people were killed by lightning strikes at three upazilas.
They were identified as Khalilur Rahman, 55, Harbadsha, 45, Akija Begum, 35, Anna Miya, 15, and Anguri Begum, 45.
According to police and local sources, Khalilur Rahman, son of Kala Miya of North Maichhanirchar village in Bakshiganj upazila, died when he went to bathe in the Brahmaputra River in the afternoon during rain.
Harbadsha, son of Mahijal Haque of East Kalkihara village of the Bakshiganj, was struck by lightning on his way home with paddy from the field. Akija Begum, wife of Abdul Khaleq of the same village, died on the spot after being struck by lightning while fetching straw to dry.
Bakshiganj Upazila Nirbahi Officer Munmun Jahan Liza said that the deceased families would receive financial assistance.
Anna Miya, son of Abel Mia of Gamariya village in Dewanganj upazila, was killed while returning home after finishing masonry work. Dewanganj police station Officer in-Charge Mohabbat Kabir confirmed the matter.
Anguri Begum, wife of Mozammel of Katuria village in Bhatara union of Sarishabari upazila, was seriously injured in a lightning strike while working in the yard.
She was later rescued and taken to the upazila health complex where the duty doctor declared her dead, hospital’s Resident Medical Officer Dr Mayma confirmed.
In Chapainawabganj, three people, including two children, were killed at two different places in sadar upazila, reports BSS.
The deceased were identified as Annie, 25, of Panchrashia village under Sundarpur union; her son Nur Mohammad, 5; and Yasin Arafat, 10, son of Abdul Matin of Tiklirchar village under Charbagdanga union.
Chapainawabganj Sadar Project Implementation Officer Moudud Ahmad Khan said that all the three persons had been hit by lightning strikes while picking mangoes around 5pm during thunder shower, leaving them dead on the spot.
Tips to stay safe during lightning
Lightning strikes are commonplace during monsoon in Bangladesh, when several hundred people – mostly farmers working under the open sky – are killed every year.
There is a correlation between thunderbolts and temperature, according to a study published in 2017.
Around 5,000-6,000 meters above the level of Bangladesh’s atmosphere, the temperature remains humid and warm from late April till the third week of May every year, leading to an increase in such incidents, the study notes.
The Bangladesh Meteorological Department suggests nine tips to keep people safe from thunderbolts.
The nine tips are:
1) Take shelter under a nearby concrete house. If there is frequent lightning, do not stay in any open or on a high place.
2) Stay away from trees and electric poles as there is a high possibility of lightning strikes on high trees or electric poles. The passenger sheds are also unsafe.
3) Do not stay close to windows at home when there is lightning. Keep the windows closed and stay within the house.
4) Avoid metallic objects. Do not touch metal, stair railing, metal pipes etc during lightning. Do not even touch landline telephones; many people get injured that way.
5) Avoid touching all connected electric appliances, including TV and fridge. Do not touch TVs, refrigerators, etc. If lightning starts, disconnect all plugs from electric lines.
6) If you are in a car during lightning, try to return home as fast as possible. If there is heavy thunderstorms and rain, take the car under any shed. Touching the windowpanes can be dangerous at that time.
7) Waterlogging is very common in the rainy season and the logged water can be electrified by the snapped electric line. So, it is better to stay home during lightning.
8) Walking barefoot or using wet leather shoes during lightning is very dangerous. Rubber gumboot will be the safest thing.
9) Remain alert on the road during lightning. Avoid the spots where the tendency of lightning is high. If someone gets injured, try to take them to hospital quickly.