At least nine people were killed and several others were injured in storm and lightning on Sunday afternoon in four districts of West Bengal, the state disaster management department said while nine other were killed across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
Sunday’s casualties took the total number of deaths in storms and lightning since April 30 to 46 in West Bengal. Of the nine killed on Sunday, four were children, all of whom were struck by lightning when they went out to collect mangoes at Uluberia in Howrah district.
Two others were killed in Hanskhali in Nadia district, two at Ghatal in West Midnapore district and one at Jalangi in Murshidabad district.
Expressing concern over the deaths, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said that the government would provide compensation to the families of all those killed in storm and lightning since April 30. “Apart from that the state government will bear the expenses of rebuilding the houses destroyed in the storms,” she said.
The highest number of casualties was on April 30 when 13 people were killed and several others were injured by storms and lightning.
“We have already instructed the state disaster management department to keep their quick response team ready. All the district magistrates have been alerted. This is unfortunate. But we do not have control on natural calamities,” the chief minister said.
In Telangana and Andhra Pradesh where storms had been forecast, nine people including three farmers were killed by lightning, officials said.
The three farmers died of lightning in Telangana’s Mancherial district early in the day while six deaths were reported from Srikakulam district in north coastal Andhra.
The farmers were trying to place covers on the paddy kept in the field when they were struck by lightning.
When they did not return home, their family members went to the field and found their bodies.