New Delhi, June 26 (efe-epa).- At least 116 people have died in several widely dispersed lightning strikes in the northern Indian states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, officials said on Friday.
The lighting and thunderstorms in the two states on Thursday were accompanied by heavy rains that have also affected other parts of the country with the arrival of the monsoon season.
So far, a total of 92 people were reported dead from Bihar as of early Friday morning, whereas the numbers could climb with fresh casualty reports, Sajjan Kumar from the state’s disaster management control room told EFE.
Kumar said they had not been able to compile the number of the injured and gauge the extent of material damages yet.
In the neighboring state of Uttar Pradesh, 24 people died and another 24 were injured due to lightning storms, Mohammad Arif, Project Manager at the Office of the Relief Commissioner, told EFE.
Arif said some 46 cattle or livestock were also lost in the day in the state.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, in a tweet, described the loss of lives as “tragic” and announced compensations of 400,000 rupees ($5,300) each to the families of the deceased.
Kumar asked the public to remain alert amid the current bad weather and follow the advice and directives issued by the authorities, according to a statement released by his office.
He also sent his condolences to the relatives of the dozens of dead, and such sentiments also flowed in from others including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also expressed his regrets to the families of the victims on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, in a Twitter post late Thursday, urged the people to be on their guard with the arrival of the monsoon and announced that economic and medical assistance would be provided to those affected.
The Indian Meteorological Department had already predicted heavy electrical storms for Thursday in Bihar and other northern and northeastern states, with the storms expected to move to the east in the coming days.
Thunderstorms typically affect the region during the June-September monsoon season, when the Indian subcontinent receives 70 percent of its annual precipitation, causing flooding and other natural disasters. EFE-EPA