Lightning killed more Indians than any other natural calamity in 2014, surpassing deaths due to heatstroke, cold and floods, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
A total of 20,201 Indians died in 2014 due to natural calamities, out of which 12.8% (2,582) deaths were due to lightning, 6.2% (1,248) because of heat or sun stroke and 4.5% (913) succumbed after an exposure to cold, the NCRB said in its latest report.
A detailed study of the NCRB data shows that lighting has always been the deadliest in India and more than 1,500 people have died because of it every year since 2003. On the other hand, no other natural disaster, including flood, cold and heat stroke, has killed more than 1,500 people during the mentioned period.
Another interesting fact to note is that lightning was the only cause behind all the accidental deaths in the category of natural disasters in Tamil Nadu in 2014. The state did not record any other reason for the deaths in that year.
According to a National Geographic report, this problem is not confined to India and almost all the developing countries face a disproportionately large number of lightning deaths. It says more than 130 people were reported killed by lightning in 2012 in Nepal, and in South Africa the average is about 260 deaths per year.
Here is a complete break-up of all deaths due to natural disasters in 2014:
Highs and lows
1. Andhra Pradesh had the maximum number of cyclone-related deaths - 41. The total number of deaths due to cyclone stood at 62, with no other state crossing the double digits.
2. Bihar had the maximum number of deaths due to exposure to cold - 230. Uttar Pradesh closely followed at 226. The total number of deaths due to cold stood at 913.
3. There were just 2 deaths due to earthquake - one each in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.
4. Jammu and Kashmir topped the list of deaths due to floods with 129 people dying in September when the Kashmir valley suffered the worst flooding in more than a century.
5. A total of 1248 people died due to heat stroke. Andhra Pradesh, which has some of the hottest cities in India, had the most numbers of deaths at 244.
6. There were 499 deaths due to landslides. Meghalaya, a relatively small state, lost 48 lives last year.
7. Chhattisgarh and Gujarat lost 100 lives between them due to torrential rain. The total number of deaths due to rain was 156.
8. The gender ratio stood at 3:1. Out of the 20,201 deaths due to natural disasters, 15,517 killed were men and 4658 were women