Preventing lightning-related deaths

15 June, 2021 12:00 AM printer

The number of deaths caused by lightning strikes is on an alarming rise. Nowadays, it has now become one of the major causes of deaths in the country. In the past, lightning was rarely taken as seriously as it is taken today. But, given the rise in the death toll in the past few years, it has been regarded as one of the deadliest natural calamities. As per the data of the Save the Society and Thunderstorm Awareness Forum, lightning claimed 177 lives from March to June this year. Any death caused by a freak occurrence like this is all the more tragic!

During our bygone days, there existed many palm trees across the country. These trees could absorb lightning strikes and save people. But, ironically, most of them were felled by greedy people over the years. Not only palm trees, but lots of tall old trees were felled at random in an unkind manner leading to massive deforestation. And, deforestation caused an environmental degradation all over. Experts have attributed the rising trend of deaths to environmental degradation. Had we focused on protecting forests and tall trees, we could have prevented large number of deaths from thunder and lightning.

Another thing is that previously buildings were constructed with a mechanism of ‘earthing’ system, while nowadays modern buildings are built bothering less for such a system. But, in the Bangladesh National Building Code, it has been clearly advised to use 'Lightning Arrestor' in all multi-storey and high rise buildings. This is an essential criterion of building construction so that the electricity from cloud is diverted to earth through the arrestor. By following the building code properly, the number of casualties and damages can be reduced to a large extent. 

We should have the precautionary measures much earlier. However, it is better late than never. By launching a mass awareness campaign, people should be encouraged to install lightning rods in their houses in a bid to reduce the mortality rate and the potential damage. To reduce the frequency of lightning strike, the government and relevant stakeholders should take all-year-round massive tree plantation drive. Moreover, people should be convinced not to remain under the open sky during thunderstorms.