At least 79 people have been killed by lightning strikes in the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh, officials say, BBC reports. Fifty three people died in Bihar. Ten people were killed in the eastern state of Jharkhand, and at least 16 died in Madhya Pradesh.
Most of the people who died were working on farms during torrential rains on Tuesday, reports said. Lightning strikes are common in India during heavy monsoon rains. In Bihar, the deaths occurred in Nalanda, Aurangabad, Rohtas, Purnea, Munger, Gaya, Saharsa, Bhagalpur, Banka and Kaimur.
At least 2,000 people have died in lightning strikes in India every year since 2005, according to the National Crime Records Bureau. India receives 80% of its annual rainfall during the monsoon season, which runs between June and September.
Safety tips when lightning strikes
- Seek shelter inside a large building or a car
- Get out of wide, open spaces and away from exposed hilltops
- If you have nowhere to shelter, make yourself as small a target as possible by crouching down with your feet together, hands on knees and head tucked in
- Do not shelter beneath tall or isolated trees
- If you are on water, get to the shore and off wide, open beaches as quickly as possible