16:58 GMT +321 November 2019
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    Deadly Lightning Strikes Leave at Least 15 Dead in India

    © AFP 2019 / MASROOR GILANI
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    Lightning has killed at least 15 people in Eastern India during a monsoon thunderstorm, according to local media.

    An intense thunderstorm wrecked havoc in the state of Odisha, located on the eastern coast of India on Sunday, bringing about numerous lightning strikes.

    The Hindu and The Samaya state that the greatest number of victims was registered in Bhadrak district — five deaths occurred there, while neighboring Balasore and Kendrapara districts reported four and three fatalities, respectively. The police provided information on more deaths in other parts of the state. Many victims were hospitalized with critical injuries, so the death toll has been rising.

    The majority of the lightning casualties were hit while working in rice paddy fields.

    Today Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Biju Patnaik declared that relief would be distributed to the families of people who suffered from the lightning strikes yesterday, The Indian Express reports.

    Lightning strikes are common in the area during heavy monsoon rains and have always posed a threat. According to India's National Crime Records Bureau, in 2015, out of 10,510 accidental deaths attributable to natural causes, more than 25% of deaths occurred due to lightning, making it the deadliest natural disaster for India.

    Meanwhile, the monsoon season that began in June has resulted in floods and has caused substantial damage in at least 20 Indian states.

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    monsoon, lightning, Odisha, India
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