Dozens of Bangladeshis were killed by lightnings on Thursday as pre-monsoon thunderstorms wreaked havoc across the South Asian country. In the last 24 hours, 29 people have died from lightning in 12 districts. Almost all of them are farmers. More than 112 people had been killed in strikes in the first 10 days of May. Unprecedented!

Map showing worldwide lightning strikes, lightning map
Map showing worldwide lightning strikes. via NASA

Scores of people die every year after being struck by lightning during Bangladesh’s wet season, which runs from April to October, but officials say the numbers are exceptionally high this year.

More than 112 people – mostly farmers who harvest rice during this time of the year – had been killed in strikes in the first 10 days of May. This means that every day, 10-12 people are dying from lightning strikes.

Experts say deaths are rising as Bangladesh, one of the world’s poorest nations, witnesses the increased deforestation of rural areas. Farmers are known to chop down trees to free up space to grow more rice. Disaster management officials are trying to reduce the high death toll by planting five million palm trees to provide better shelter.

Authorities declared lightning a natural disaster after 82 people were killed in a single day in May 2016. Independent monitors estimated that some 349 Bangladeshis died from lightning that year. This year is on track to beat this record!

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29 killed in lightning strikes across Bangladesh – IOL

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