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KSNDMC study on lightning strikes a chord in rural belt- Mrit News

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As many as 70 people died in the hinterland of Mysuru-Mandya-Ch.Nagar in 10 years

As many as 70 people died in the hinterland of Mysuru-Mandya-Ch.Nagar in 10 years

The onset of monsoon revs up the local administration to brace for natural disasters like floods and landslides but lightning as a natural disaster tends to get a short shrift.  

However, a study on lightning and thunder strike indicates that 70 people have died due to this natural phenomena in Mysuru-Mandya-Chamarajanagar belt during the last 10 years.

While 32 people have lost their lives due to lightning strike between 2011 and 2021 in Mysuru district, 27 have died in Chamarajanagar and 11 have died in Mandya district during the same period.

In Mysuru district, the maximum deaths due to lightning during the study period was in 2015 when 15 people lost their lives. There was no death in 2021 while 8 people had lost their lives in 2019.

Incidentally, Kodagu which bears the brunt of nature’s fury and has taken a hit by way of flood and land slides has not reported a single death due to lightning in the last 10 years. As per the report, 812 deaths occurred due to lightning during the same period across the State.

The study was conducted by Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre and the report Karnataka State Thunder Storm and Lightning Action Plan 2022, which was released sometime ago, indicate thunderstorm and lightning have emerged as one of the major weather hazard across the country in recent years. It also identified South Western Parts of Karnataka is one of the vulnerable areas for Cloud-Ground thunderstorm and lightning strikes.

The KSNDMC has taken up the district-wise mapping of cloud to ground events even since it launched the lightning monitoring network in the State. The lightning monitoring project entailed installing a network of 11 lightning detection sensor stations in the State and collecting data about both thunderstorm and lighting (cloud to cloud and cloud to ground).

As per the data, there were 13,437 cloud to ground lightning incidents between June 2018 and December 2021 in Mysuru district, 14,138 incidents in Mandya and 8,635 cloud to ground lightning incidents recorded in Chamarajanagar districts during the same period.

Among the neighbouring districts, Hassan reported 16,264 incidents while Chikkamagalur had 16,994 events and Shivamogga reported 14,866 cloud to ground lightning events. Kodagu had relatively less such incidents and 6303 lightning events were recorded between June 2018 and December 2021.

The study points out that rural and forest areas are most vulnerable due to the presence of tall trees and water bodies and a majority of the lightning victims are people working in the fields in rural areas.

The report provides a set of guidelines to the local authorities with specific instructions on dos and don’ts including mitigation measures and to improve response mechanism besides capacity building. The KSNDMC already has the mobile App Sidilu for dissemination of information and early warning pertaining to lightning strike. The information is also disseminated to revenue officials including the Panchayat Development Officers.

Underlining the importance of capacity building, the KSNDMC report points out that awareness and education is an important component to foster a culture of preventing and preparedness.

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