Lightning strikes have killed 20 people across eight districts of the eastern Indian state of Bihar in just 24 hours.

More thunderstorm with lightning has been forecast in northern parts of the state for Wednesday and Thursday.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has asked people to closely follow the advice by the state’s disaster management authority.

Hundreds die in India every year in lightning incidents during monsoon rains.

One of the reasons cited for the high number of deaths is the large number of people working outdoors in India compared to other parts of the world, which makes them more vulnerable.

On Tuesday, Mr Kumar announced a compensation of 400,00 rupees ($5,008; £4,154) for the families of each of the deceased.

The chief minister had held a meeting last week and asked state officials to install lightning arresters at all government buildings, including schools and hospitals, The Times of India newspaper reported.

The geographical position of the state makes it particularly susceptible to frequent lightning strikes during the monsoons, the report said.

In February this year, the BBC reported that the number of lightning strikes in India had risen sharply in recent years.

Satellite data gathered by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology also shows that strikes had “increased rapidly” between 1995 and 2014.

India recorded more than 18 million lightning strikes between April 2020 and March 2021, according to a study by the non-profit Climate Resilient Observing Systems Promotion Council. This was a 34% rise over a similar period during the previous year.

Source: BBC

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