Question: What is a lightning disaster? Discuss its occurrence and measures to mitigate its risk on population.
Answer: Lightning is an electrical discharge caused by imbalances between storm clouds and the ground, or within the clouds themselves. Lightning is one of the major contributor of deaths especially in rural areas.
- They mostly originate in a cumulonimbus cloud and terminate on the ground, called cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning.
- About 69% of all lightning events worldwide are strikes between the atmosphere and earth-bound objects, risking properties and lives.
- People working in farms, ranches, orchards and pastures.
- Animals grazing in open grasslands.
- People living in vicinity of thunderstorms and cyclonic areas.
- Frequent travellers on unsecure aircrafts.
Measures to mitigate lightning disaster
- Notifying disaster
Currently, lightning strike is not considered a disaster under Disaster Management Rules. This means that government’s attention towards lightning is not favourable. By notifying, policy attention can be given to mitigate the disaster.
- Community participation
Conducting communication drive with people living in vulnerable areas so that they are equipped to handle their safety in case of occurrence of the disaster. This will save their lives and also property.
- Disaster mapping
Making a detailed map of areas and the time of occurrence of disaster so that vulnerable areas are identified. Use of modern satellite technology and weather prediction algorithms to make this happen.
- Installation of anti-lightning devices
Tall buildings, houses in open areas and other buildings in storm susceptible areas to compulsory have devices that prevent lightning strikes.
Thus, with proper planning and management, lightning can be controlled. It is necessary that policymakers address the issue urgently.