After nearly 60 people were killed after being struck by lightning in Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar chaired a meeting today of emergency response officials, as the state struggles to cope with heavy rain.
An overnight storm killed at least 56 people and injured another 24 in different parts of Bihar, mostly rural areas. Four deaths were recorded in the state capital of Patna.
Lightning strikes are relatively common in India during the June-October monsoon, which hit the southern coast earlier this month, but this week’s toll is particularly high.
In Patna and Rohtas,16 people were injured by the lightning.
“We have confirmation of 47 deaths and fear the toll may go up as reports are pouring in from other districts,” Anirudh Kumar, a senior official at Bihar’s disaster management agency, told news agency AFP.
The state government has announced a compensation of Rs. 4 lakh to the victims’ families.
The rains that started earlier this week were the first of this monsoon season.
Authorities in the neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh said 20 people were killed over two days.
More than 2,500 people were killed by lightning in India in 2014 according to the National Crime Records Bureau, the most recent figures available.