The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast heavy rainfall, thunderstorm and lightning on Friday in at least eight districts of Bihar, where more than 80 people were killed in several parts of the state on Thursday.
Siwan, Gopalganj, Sitamarhi, Darbhanga, Supaul, Araria, Kishanganj and Katihar districts of Bihar will receive heavy rainfall along with thunderstorm, lightning and squalls on Friday, according to the weather bureau.
East Champaran, West Champaran, Gopalgunj, Siwan, Saran, Sitamarhi, Madhubani, Darbhanga, Kishanganj, Katihar, Madhepura, Purnia, Saharsa and Araria will continue to receive heavy rainfall on Saturday.
IMD had said earlier that a situation conducive for enhancing rainfall activities is likely to prevail over the foothills of the Himalayas along with Bihar – Nepal border and adjoining areas.
Deaths in Bihar:
Eighty-three people were killed and 30 others injured in the thunderstorm and lightning on Thursday.
The Nitish Kumar-led government in Bihar asked people to adhere to safety norms during bad weather conditions and follow guidelines issued from time to time by the disaster management department.
The chief minister secretariat said financial help to those who lost animals and cattle was also being extended.
The maximum number of people, 13, died in Gopalganj, eight each lost their lives in Madhubani and Nawada, six each in Siwan and Bhagalpur, five each in East Champaran, Darbhanga, and Banka.
Three each in Khagaria and Aurangabad, two each in West Champaran, Kishanganj, Jehanabad, Jamui, Purnia, Supaul, Buxar and Kaimur and one each in Samastipur, Sheohar, Saran, Sitamarhi and Madhepura.
Reports from Gopalganj said all the victims were farmers from Barauli, Manjha, Vijaipur, Uchkagaon and Kateya areas. The lightning struck them when they were working in their fields.
In Khagaria, a woman died and five minors were injured in Choutham locality. More than 15 cattle deaths were also reported.
In Darbhanga, which saw five deaths, Pushpesh Kumar, in charge of disaster management, said the fatalities included a woman from Uchhati village who was planting paddy in the field when the lightning struck.
Reports from Madhubani said that eight people, including four of a family, besides a farmer and two others, were killed in Phulparas and Benipatti police stations areas.
In East Champaran district, a 49-year-old man died and three others were injured at Belwatiya village under Sagauli police station. A 14-year-old girl from Surendra village under Raxaul police station was also killed in the lightning.
“Three others injured are undergoing treatment at the local hospital in Sagauli and the body of the deceased has been sent to Motihari Sadar Hospital for autopsy,” Mithilesh Kumar, station house officer of Sagauli police station, said.
In neighbouring West Champaran, two villagers were killed in Narkatiaganj.
“Widespread rain after a gap causes more thunderstorm and lightning activity. Since it’s a favourable time of crop sowing, more people are out in the fields and they are the most vulnerable to a lightning strike,” Anand Shankar, a weather scientist at Patna IMD centre, said.
He said that a similar incident took place in April this year but since people stayed indoors, the damage was less.
“MeT has mobile apps like Damini and IndarVajr, which give an early alert of thunderstorm and lightning. People are advised to use this app and stay alert during monsoon,” he said.
Last year, lightning had killed 39 people in Bihar.