India lightning strikes leave 93 people dead

Man in hospital in Bihar after lightning strikes Image copyright AP
Image caption This man, who was taken to hospital in Bihar, told journalists he had been knocked out by the lightning

At least 93 people have been killed and more than 20 injured by lightning strikes in the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, officials say.

Most of the people who died were working on farms during torrential rains on Tuesday, reports said.

Lightning strikes are common in India during heavy monsoon rains.

Fifty-six people died in Bihar while 37 people were killed across Uttar Pradesh, Jharkand and Madhya Pradesh.

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Media captionHelen Willetts explains why lightning strikes are so deadly in India

"Many of the victims are children and women," Anirudh Kumar, a senior official at Bihar's disaster management agency, told AFP news agency.


One man taken to hospital in Rohtas said: "When it was raining, we immediately took shelter. It [lightning] hit us there, and then we fell unconscious.

"We could not understand what had happened. Then in the middle, when I regained consciousness, I realised that I had been hit by something."

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was "deeply anguished" by the loss of life.

At least 2,000 people have died in lightning strikes in India every year since 2005, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.

India receives 80% of its annual rainfall during the monsoon season, which runs between June and September.

Safety tips when lightning strikes

  • Seek shelter inside a large building or a car
  • Get out of wide, open spaces and away from exposed hilltops
  • If you have nowhere to shelter, make yourself as small a target as possible by crouching down with your feet together, hands on knees and head tucked in
  • Do not shelter beneath tall or isolated trees
  • If you are on water, get to the shore and off wide, open beaches as quickly as possible

Source: Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents

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