By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
Narendra Modi, as well as the chief ministers of India’s northern states of
Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan also announced compensation for the families of those who died.
Among those killed were at least 18 people, including seven children, in Rajasthan, police said.
Most of the dead were “taking selfies” on top of a watchtower at the 12th Century Amer Fort, a popular tourist attraction near the state capital Jaipur, authorities said.
At least 41 people – primarily women and children – were reportedly killed in Uttar Pradesh state. The highest toll of 14 was recorded in the city of Allahabad (also known as Prayagraj), news reports said.
Two men, who were taking shelter under a tree, reportedly died on the spot after they were struck by lightning in Firozabad city. The remaining deaths occurred in several districts across the state.
At least seven died in Madhya Pradesh. Experts say casualty numbers are high in the two states because many people work outdoors in agriculture and construction. Lightning strikes kill some 2,000 Indians on average every year, according to official data.
Britain’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has urged people to prevent being struck by “seeking shelter inside a large building or a car.”
It was crucial to “Get out of wide, open spaces and away from exposed hilltops.” However, “If you have nowhere to shelter, make yourself as small a target as possible by crouching down with your feet together, hands on knees and head tucked in.”
The Society also said, “do not shelter beneath tall or isolated trees.” And: “If you are on the water, get to the shore and off wide, open beaches as quickly as possible.”
Many deaths occur during India’s monsoon season, which sees heavy rains, from June to September.
The Indian Meteorological Department claims deaths by lightning strikes have doubled in the country since the 1960s due to a “climate crisis.”
Others could suggest that India’s population has dramatically risen in that time, with lightning strikes threatening more people. Between 1975 and 2010, India’s population doubled to 1.2 billion. India was projected to surpass China as the world’s most populous nation by 2024, becoming the first country to host 1.5 billion people by 2030.
If you are interested in articles produced by Worthy News, please check out our FREE sydication service available to churches or online Christian ministries. To find out more, visit Worthy Plugins.