Nearly 50 killed in under a week after being struck by lightning

Nearly 50 people have died after being struck by lightning in a village in India.

In total 49 people, mainly farmers, have been killed in the country's northern Uttar Pradesh state, police said on Thursday (July 28).

The state's chief minister, Nitish Kumar, said 400,000 rupees (£4,154) will be given as compensation to families of those who have died.

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He also wants state officials to install lightning arresters that prevent lightning from striking an object and instead divert electricity into the ground where it harmlessly disperses.

Mr Kumar tweeted (when the death toll was still on 20): "The death of 20 people in eight districts of the state due to lightning is tragic.

"An ex-gratia grant of Rs 4 lakh each will be given immediately to the dependents of the deceased.

"Be careful in bad weather. Follow the suggestions issued by the Disaster Management Department to prevent thunderstorms. Stay at home in bad weather, stay safe."

Officials at the Patna office of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) have forecasted more heavy rain across the state until this Saturday (July 30).

Weather department official Kamini Kumari said: "Light to moderate rain will occur at a majority of places (in the state) this week.

"Fairly widespread rain accompanied with lightning and thunderstorm is likely across the state until July 30.

India has recently experienced a surging number of lightning events, with hundreds of people killed in the country each year in thunderstorms at the start of the monsoon season.

The number of lightning strikes has increased to the point that India recorded more than 18million of them between April 2020 and March 2021, according to the Climate Resilient Observing Systems Promotion Council.

Lightning strikes killed nearly 3,000 people in 2019 while the year before, the southern state of Andhra Pradesh recorded a staggering 36,749 lightning strikes in just 13 hours.

India's monsoon season runs from June through to September.

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