Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Monsoon Grievance

Recently, 5 women from Dhamangao village in Wardha district were struck by lightning and died on spot. This is an extremely unfortunate incident; even more upsetting since we had a close association with all 5. They were part of the self-help group run by the organisation, and one of them, Uma Raut (who was only 52 years old), was active in running our after-school activity and learning centre for kids and teenagers in the village. It’s very unfortunate when a human life falls prey to something so avoidable. Our sympathies are with the grieving families.

As you know the tree cover is reducing exponentially. This is especially obvious when one visits the farmers’ fields. One can observe just one or two trees in the middle of vast stretches of cultivated land. When it starts raining, the farmers and the labourers run towards the nearest possible tree to find shelter, and that’s the most fatal mistake. Lightning usually strikes the highest point in an area, and in the fields, that’s usually the treetop under which people have taken shelter.

The problem is compounded by lack of enough trees and the increase in frequency and intensity of thunders and lightening instances, possibly due to climate change. The latter is a mere speculation, but it is in line with how climate change affects weather patterns, such as monsoon behaviour in India (less number of rainy days) and hurricanes over Atlantic Ocean (increase in the number and intensity), both of which have been proven scientifically.

While tree cover needs to be increased, and the climate change needs to be arrested, these are more long-term solutions. If there are any experts amongst you, or if you know someone who may know something to prevent this, do get in touch.

PS. We thought of lightening catchers, but not sure about the area it covers.


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