Death by lightning: facts and figures

Lightning has killed 56 in Bihar and 42 in Uttar Pradesh in the last 24 hours. Here are some numbers that define this leading cause of accidental death due to a natural phenomenon

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Wednesday 22 June 2016 | 12:47:25 PM

India reports more than 2,000 deaths due to lightning strikes every year

Lightning strokes carry up to 100 million volts of electricity (Photo courtesy: Mathias Krumbholz, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

India reports the highest number of deaths due to lightning strikes. Lightning claimed 32,743 lives in the country from 2000 to 2014, making it an average 2,182 deaths a year. Compare this with the US which reported an annual average of 33 deaths due to lightning during 2004-2013.

Lightning is one of the most devastating natural causes in terms of mortality in India

Of 20,201 accidental deaths attributable to natural causes in India, 12.8 per cent deaths were due to lightning, according to the National Crime Records Bureau’s report on accidental deaths of 2014. This means around seven people died due to lightning strikes every day.

Madhya Pradesh reported the highest number of deaths due to lightning in 2014

Madhya Pradesh reported the highest number of deaths due to lightning in 2014, followed by Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, among others. All accidental deaths due to forces of nature reported in Goa and Tamil Nadu were due to lightning in that year.

Precautions to take during a thunderstorm

Lightning strokes carry up to 100 million volts of electricity and tend to strike higher ground and prominent objects, especially good conductors of electricity such as metal. India Meteorological Department recommends taking shelter during a thunderstorm, preferably in a house or all-metal automobile (not a convertible top) or in a low-lying area.

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