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Lightning is a Bigger Killer than Earthquakes and Floods in India

Over 100 deaths were reported due to lightning on Tuesday in Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh with 57 from Bihar alone.

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Lightning. Image source: www.noaanews.noaa.gov
  • In 2014, at least 2,582 people died in lightning strikes
  • Victims of lightning isn’t recognized by the national-level official disaster relief policy for providing proper compensation from the national calamity relief funds
  • Lightning strikes are going to get worse in the coming years due to global warming

Are you aware of the natural disaster that kills thousands every year? Well, if you are guessing it as earthquake or flood, then you are wrong for sure. Every year, over 2500 deaths per year, most of the villages are still unequipped to handle lightning. What’s worse?Lightning is not recognized as a natural disaster under the national-level official disaster relief policy for providing proper compensation to the families of victims from the national calamity relief funds.

Over 100 deaths were reported due to lightning on Tuesday, June 21, in Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh with 57 from Bihar alone and an emergency meeting of the cabinet was quickly called in Bihar and compensation for victims was also announced. Rather than providing such compensations, a more regular provision at the national level in the calamity relief funds should be made available.

Lightning isn’t always fatal but the injuries from it can be very painful and specialized treatment must be provided immediately. So the policy-makers should not only keep the matter of compensation in mind but the facilities for proper medical care must also be provided so that some lives can be saved.

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The Institute of Land and Disaster Management and the Government of Kerala, had examined the data on the leading natural disasters for 45 years (1967-2012) and concluded that 39% of all deaths had been caused by lightning – compared to 18% by floods, says the Wire report.  In 2014, at least 2,582 people died in lightning strikes, according to the government.

According to thewire.in report, Jharkhand, Bihar, Assam, Orissa, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and the Himalayan region are most affected by lightning and produce the highest number of deaths. Most of the victims are women and children.

With little or no protective steps taken against lightning in villages, it is the people living in the rural that is affected the most. Farmers, field workers, nomads and forest workers have been particularly vulnerable to death by lightning.

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“It is mentioned under ‘death due to natural causes’, implying that it affects everyone equally. Yet it affects the villagers most, and since most poor people still stay in villages, it affects the poor disproportionately. Those who work in the fields or have to go around with herds of cows and goats or have to go out into the forests are more likely to suffer. Easily several scores of people die due to this every year in rural districts.” said Dr. Yogesh Jain, who treats lightning victims at a rural hospital in Bilaspur district, Chhattisgarh.

A lightning conductor. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Though natural disasters are predictable, it is hard to pinpoint where and when it will take place. Lightning can strike anywhere and anytime in the zone. Hence protective measures must be deployed wherever necessary. Lightning conductors should be readily available close to the areas more affected by lightning. The hospitals should be well-equipped to handle a significant number of patients. These precautions are necessary to save the lives of all those injured by lightning.

The lightning strikes are going to get worse in the coming years, say scientists. A team of scientists from the University of California, Berkeley, found that lightning would be expected to increase by about 12 percent per degree Celsius of warming which means about a 50 percent rise over the 21st century due to global warming.

-The report is compiled by a staff-writer at NewsGram.

ALSO READ:

Lightning Kills More People in India Than Floods, Quakes

  • devika todi

    the statistics are shocking! the government should take provisions to ensure that the people in the rural areas are well equipped to deal with lightning.

  • Aparna Gupta

    Recently around forty persons lost their lives due to lightening. It is better to take appropritae measures during lightening.

Next Story

Farm Equipment Manufacturers Across U.S. Worry About Tariffs on Aluminum and Steel

“We’re not really that big, so we can say that this impact has been a seven-figure impact for us in the last year, and that’s a substantial amount of money.”

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Workers ride through an aluminum ingots depot in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, China, Sept. 26, 2012. President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on aluminum and steel in March of 2018, with the goal of boosting U.S. production. VOA

Their iconic blue-colored planters and grain cars are recognizable on many farms across the United States. They are also easily spotted in large displays, some stacked one on top of the other, in front of Kinze’s manufacturing hub along Interstate 80, where, inside buildings sprawling across a campus situated among Iowa’s corn and soybeans fields, the company’s employees work with one key component.

“Steel is the lifeblood of Kinze,” says Richard Dix, a company senior director. “We’re a factory that’s essentially a weld house. We cut, burn, form, shape, cut, paint steel.”

Steel now costs more, the result of a 25 percent tariff on the material imported from most countries, including China.

“When there is a tariff on steel it cuts rights to the core of our fundamental product construction,” says Dix.

In March of 2018, President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on aluminum and steel, with the goal of boosting U.S. production and related employment.

While there has been a modest benefit to the domestic steel industry, Dix says increased costs are negatively impacting smaller manufacturing companies like Kinze.

“We see the bills that come in from our suppliers are higher based on those tariffs,” Dix explains. “Not just in steel but also in a lot of the electronics, rubber commodities and other agricultural parts we buy from China as well. Those tariffs take their effect on our cost structure, on the profitability for the family, through our employees, and now to our dealers and on to our customers.”

Those customers are mostly U.S. farmers who use some of Kinze’s products to put soybean and corn seeds into the ground. Soybean exports in particular are now subject to retaliatory tariffs imposed by the Chinese, one of the biggest export markets for U.S. farmers, which has sunk commodity prices and contributed to another year of overall declining income for U.S. farmers.

FILE - farmer Michael Petefish walks through his soybeans at his farm near Claremont in southern Minnesota.
farmer Michael Petefish walks through his soybeans at his farm near Claremont in southern Minnesota. VOA

​That means many are less likely to purchase the products Kinze makes.

“The market is substantially down,” says Dix. “The farmers don’t have that level of security they need to go out into the dealerships and buy that equipment. We get a one-two punch. We pay more for the product that comes into us and therefore on to the customer, and then we have a reciprocal situation where we can’t export what was advantageous to us.”

These are some of the concerns Dix explained to Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst, who participated in a roundtable discussion at Kinze along with farmers and others in Iowa impacted by tariffs. It was part of a “Tariffs Hurt the Heartland” event hosted by Kinze, and organized by the group Americans for Free Trade along with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

Ernst says the personal stories she gathers from these meetings go a long way in helping President Donald Trump understand the impact on her constituents.

“He has a very different negotiating style,” she told VOA. “He wants to start with the worst possible scenario, and negotiate his way to a good and fair trade deal, but again sharing those stories is very important and yes it does have an impact. I think the president does listen.”

Ernst says she is encouraged by news from the Trump administration on developments in negotiations that lead her to believe the trade dispute with China, and the related tariffs, could end soon.

“When I last spoke to [U.S. Trade Representative] Robert Lighthizer, he had indicated that the deal with China is largely done, it’s just figuring out the enforcement mechanism, and that is what the United States and China are really bartering over right now.”

But Kinze’s Richard Dix says one year under tariffs has already taken a toll on the company’s operations.

“We’re not really that big, so we can say that this impact has been a seven-figure impact for us in the last year, and that’s a substantial amount of money.”

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It’s an amount that Dix says, so far, hasn’t been passed on to Kinze’s customers, or the employees.

“We have not actually had any direct layoffs that are attributable to this tariff situation, but we’re all tightening our belts.” (VOA)