LIGHTNING DISASTER (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 - Geography)

News-CRUX-10     29th August 2023        
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Context: Madhya Pradesh is found to be the lightning hub of India with maximum flashes of 987,095 in 2022-23 and highest deaths of 340 per year, according to the latest report on lightning.

  • The fourth annual lightning report said the country recorded more than 20 million lightning strikes in 2022-23, a 60% increase in cloud-to-ground lightning from 2019-20.

Lightning  Disaster

  • Lightning is a powerful and visible electrical phenomenon that takes place when there is a buildup of electrical charges within clouds and between clouds and the ground.
  • The discharge of this electrical energy results in a brilliant flash of light and a rapid expansion of air, creating the characteristic thunder that accompanies lightning.
  • Cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning is dangerous because it can electrocute people due to its high electric voltage and current.
  • India ranks among the five countries worldwide with an early warning system for lightning.
  • According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) 2021 data, lightning accounted for 2,880 deaths, comprising 40% of all accidental deaths caused by "forces of nature."
  • Lightning frequency is highest in northeastern states and West Bengal, Sikkim, Jharkhand, Odisha, and Bihar.
  • Bihar is one of the most vulnerable states to lightning strikes, with a significant number of deaths reported annually.
  • The Union government opposes declaring lightning a natural disaster. The government believes that education and awareness can help prevent lightning-related deaths effectively.
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