Officials have confirmed that at least 76 people were killed by lightning strike in India, during the initial stages of the annual monsoon.
During the June-September deluge which brings relief from the heat on the northern Indian plains,
deadly lightning strikes are quite common in this vast Asian nation.
A state disaster official said to AFP that 23 of the 76 people who died were in Rajasthan’s mostly desert state.
This included a dozen people who were watching the storm pass Jaipur from the watch towers located near the 12th-century Amer Fort.
“It was already raining when they were there. “They huddled together in the towers as it intensified,” Saurabh Tiwari of Jaipur’s senior police officer said.
According to him, up to 30 people were in the towers at the time of the lightning strike.
The emergency teams were looking for victims who had fallen into the deep moat that was located on one side.
The lightning strike left some of the injured unconscious. He added that others ran in panic and extreme pain.”
Local media were told by officials that some of the victims had taken selfies during storms.
Each year, thousands of tourists visit Amer Fort, a medieval fortress on a hilltop near Jaipur,
also known as the Amber Fort.
After several weeks of intense heat, people have been flocking to this fort which offers a panoramic view over Jaipur.
Officials said that at least 42 people died in lightning strikes in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday and Sunday.
Officials did not provide further information about the exact location of their deaths.
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According to an official from the Madhya Pradesh’s disaster control office,
another 11 people were killed in central Madhya Pradesh this weekend.
Official said that two of the men, who had taken their sheep and camels for grazing,
were hiding under a tree when lightning struck.
Narendra Modi, the prime minister, stated that compensation would be given to the families of victims.
After severe turbulence caused by monsoon storms in West Bengal’s eastern state,
27 people died and four others were taken to the hospital.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau, nearly 2,900 Indians were struck by lightning in India in 2019.
While the monsoon is vital for replenishing South Asia’s water supplies, it also causes extensive destruction and death across the region every year.