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Lightning deaths can be reduced by raising awareness

10 June 2021

Deaths from lightning strikes in the country has risen at an alarming rate since last April. Recently, the panic of tragic death caused by lightning has spread among the common people across the country including the capital city. About 50 people were killed and several others seriously injured in three days. On 3 June, 25 people were killed in lightning. Due to the rise in global warming, lightning strikes are increasing. The Met office from time to time issues warning and awareness messages for people to stay safe from lightning.
Lightning has in recent years emerged as a major disaster in Bangladesh. The Ministry of Relief and Disaster Management declared lightning hazard as a disaster on 17 May 2016. Lightning strike is a worldwide problem representing a cause of weather-related deaths after tornadoes, flash floods, and hurricanes. Low and middle-income countries in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world are most affected by lightning.
In response to increasing lightning events, Bangladesh in 2017 started sowing palm trees. Bangladesh's disaster management department has supported the sowing of 4.8 million palm trees nationwide. Lightning protection measures are now part of the country's national disaster management plan and National Building Code. Lightning is a natural disaster. By limiting global warming we can reduce lightning and by making people aware causalities can be reduced. The government, local government and non-government actors should come up with effective and simple technology in building construction to reduce the loss of life caused by lightning. Alongside this a sustained campaign should be made to create mass awareness about it.  
The US, which once saw 200 to 300 lightning deaths a year has managed to dramatically reduce that toll by making people aware of the risks of standing in open areas during thunderstorms. In Bangladesh - or anywhere where storms hit - people should take shelter immediately in any building while farmers should lie flat on the soil when they meet any possibility of the thunderstorm to avoid lightning incidents.

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