No fewer than 104 people have been killed by lightning strikes as heavy monsoon storms swept India’s eastern and northern states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh on Thursday, officials said.
Officials at the disaster management control room in state capital Patna said that 83 people were killed across various districts in Bihar.
“The deaths have been reported just as the monsoon arrived in Bihar and neighbouring regions. The victims were mostly farmers or the homeless who were outdoors,” disaster management official Umesh Singh said.
They said several others were injured as high-speed winds and rains felled trees and electricity poles and brought down thatched homes and temporary structures.
“Twenty-three of Bihar’s 38 districts confirmed deaths in the wake of the storms, with the district of Gopalgunj reporting the most fatalities, at 13.
“The injured were being treated at hospitals,” he added.
The numbers represent the highest single-day death toll in Bihar due to lightning strikes in several years, senior disaster management official Avinash Kumar said.
Dozens of people die from lightning strikes in the region every year during the storms which are common in India during the monsoon season that stretches between June and September.
The death toll from the heavy storms was likely to increase, as officials were collecting details of damage from across districts in both states.
More worrying is the forecast by the weather bureau of more storms in India for the coming days.