Lightning Strike Kills 16 People Who Were Taking Selfies
16 people have died while taking selfies during a storm in India.
Those who died were taking pictures at the top of a watch tower at Jaipur’s 12th Century Amer Fort when they were struck by lightning.
There were 27 people at the top of the tower at the time of the incident. Some are reported to have jumped to the ground in a bid to avoid the lightning strike.
A senior police officer has since confirmed the majority of those who lost their lives yesterday, July 11, were young.
Jaipur wasn’t the only place to have had fatal lightning strikes, as dozens also died in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh states, BBC News reports.
It’s believed 41 people, mainly women and children, died in the Uttar Pradesh state. Two men were struck while sheltering under a tree in Firozabad city, while another seven died in Madhya Pradesh.
The highest toll in Uttar Pradesh was in the city of Allahabad, where 14 people died. The remaining deaths happened in other parts of the state.
According to officials, the death tolls were particularly high in these areas because there’s a high number of people who work outdoors in agriculture and construction.
Sadly, deaths by lightning strike aren’t uncommon in India; there are around 2,000 people killed by lightning in the country each year. 2019 saw 2,876 deaths due to lightning.
With this in mind, thunderstorms have been branded as ‘the single-largest killer natural disaster in India’ by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Hindustan Times reports.
Following yesterday’s fatalities, the Office of the Prime Minister of India has issued a statement detailing that those injured by the lightning strikes will be compensated, in addition to the next of kin of those who died.
It tweeted this morning, July 12, ‘The Prime Minister was briefed about the loss of lives and damages due to lightning in parts of Uttar Pradesh. An ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh each from PMNRF would be given to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs. 50,000 would be given to the injured.’
In a separate tweet, a comment from Prime Minister Narendra Modi read, ‘Saddened by the loss of lives due to lightning in parts of Madhya Pradesh. The State Government will provide all possible assistance to the affected.’
People who find themselves stuck in extreme weather are advised to seek shelter inside a large building or a car; get out of wide, open spaces and away from exposed hilltops; and to make themselves a small target by crouching down with their feet together, hands on knees and head tucked in.
People are also advised to not shelter under trees, and, if they’re on water, to get to shore as quickly as possible.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
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