LIGHTNING DISASTER Syllabus GS Paper 3 – Disaster Management)

News-CRUX-10     28th November 2023        

Context: Recently, Gujarat experienced unseasonal rains and hailstorms, resulting in the tragic deaths of twenty-seven people due to lightning strikes.

Lightning  Disaster

  • About: 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.
  • Effects of Lightning Discharge: 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.
  • Risks of Cloud-to-Ground Lightning: It is dangerous because it can electrocute people due to its high electric voltage and current.
  • India's Early Warning System: 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."
  • Regional Frequency of Lightning: Lightning frequency is highest in northeastern states and West Bengal, Sikkim, Jharkhand, Odisha, and Bihar.
  • Bihar's Vulnerability to Lightning: Bihar is one of the most vulnerable states to lightning strikes, with a significant number of deaths reported annually.
  • Lightning as a Natural Disaster: The Union government opposes declaring lightning a natural disaster. 
  • The government believes that education and awareness can help prevent lightning-related deaths effectively.