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Bangladesh: At least 22 killed by lightning strikes June 19-20 /update 3

At least 22 killed by lightning strikes June 19-20; further storms forecast

20 juin 10h03 UTC
TIMEFRAME expected from 20/6/2017, 12h00 until 23/6/2017, 11h59 (Asia/Dhaka). COUNTRY/REGION Bangladesh

Event

At least 22 people were killed by lightning strikes across the country on Monday, June 19, and Tuesday, June 20.

The Bangladesh Meteorological Department forecasts heavy to very heavy rain and more thunderstorms in the Khulna, Barisal, Chittagong, Dhaka, Mymensingh, Sylhet, Rajshahi, and Rangpur divisions, over at least the next three days.

Context

These incidents come a week after monsoon rains triggered a series of deadly landslides in the country, resulting in the deaths of at least 140 people in five of Bangladesh’s southeastern districts. Between June 12 and 14, devastating mudslides swept away large parts of cities; at least 103 fatalities have been reported in Rangamati, the most affected district, where at least 5000 homes were destroyed or damaged. Another 28 people were killed in Chittagong district, six in Bandarban, two in Cox’s Bazar, and one in Khagrachhari.

Torrential rains, and subsequent flooding and landslides, hit Bangladesh on a yearly basis during the rainy season that spans from April to October. Throughout July and August 2016, massive flooding affected central and southern districts. More than 3.2 million people were affected across 16 districts, at least 60 fatalities were reported due to flood waters, and thousands of residents were evacuated.

Flooding poses a threat to public health as it facilitates the spread of mosquito- and water-borne diseases. There is a risk of contracting malaria in rural areas throughout the year in Bangladesh. Dengue fever is endemic and is also transmitted through mosquito bites, including in urban areas. Gastrointestinal water-borne diseases are also common, especially during the rainy season.

Advice

Individuals present in affected areas are advised to follow instructions issued by local authorities and to monitor the situation. In the event of flooding, remember that driving or walking through running water can be dangerous - 15 cm (6 in) of running water is enough to knock over an adult - and that floodwater may contain wastewater or chemical products; all items having come into contact with the water should be disinfected and all foodstuffs discarded.

Due to the possible presence of mosquito-borne diseases, individuals are advised to take preventive measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites (use insect repellent, wear non-exposing clothing, sleep in screened-in or air conditioned rooms) and destroy possible mosquito breeding grounds, which include masses of garbage and small pockets of stagnant water (e.g. water that has collected in cans, bottles, tires, vases, flower pots, clogged gutters, air conditioners, and water dishes for pets).

To minimize your risk of contracting water-borne diseases, consume only treated or bottled water and avoid foods that cannot be thoroughly cooked or disinfected.

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