Fierce Lightning, International Coverage Ignites Concern in Capital


Lightning strikes and thunder are a common feature of every rainy season in Laos but recent coverage from abroad featuring the shocking albeit rare deaths and associated injuries from the phenomena has raised innate fears held by some members of the community.While strikes are a common event during the thunderstorms that roll in to Laos at this time of year, the vast majority do not affect people, animals or possessions directly.

Of course, souls caught out in the weather or under tall trees occasionally have the misfortune of personally experiencing a lightning strike. Among these, some occasionally end in fatalities.

For instance, an unfortunate resident of Ngoy district in Luang Prabang province was killed by a lightning struck in April of this year.

At the end of last month, some cattle were killed with a lightning in Attapeu province’s Xaysetta district after the stock gathered under to escape the brunt of bad weather.

Vientiane Rescue 1623’s Mr. Thaksin Kounnasen, told Vientiane Times on Friday it had yet to be informed of anyone being killed in the vicinity of the capital by lightning over the period of many years since its establishment.

“However, people should always get inside under cover to minimise the risk of being struck by lightning,” he said.

Many houses or buildings in Laos are not equipped with the lightning protection in the form of an earthing system.

This could be a concern as the country is expected to face increased storm intensity and frequency over coming decades as a result of the rising trajectory of oceanic temperatures associated with the anthropogenic climatic changes already under way.

Meanwhile, recent freak occurrences reported from abroad can still startle.

More than 300 wild reindeer reported killed by lightning in central Norway were released Friday, AP reported.

The Norwegian Environment Agency released eerie images showing a jumble of reindeer carcasses scattered across a small area on the Hardangervidda mountain plateau.

The agency says 323 animals were killed, including 70 calves, in the lightning storm.

Of course, the human toll is generally concentrated in more densely populated and less developed countries as well as tropical areas and geographical regions prone to more intense storms.

In India, CNN reported lightning strikes killing at least 120 people in four states as monsoon rains swept across much of the country this year.

Closer to home in the northern Thai provinces of Nan and Phrae, summer thunderstorms struck with lightning strikes that killed one person and several animals on Monday night according to Bangkok Post reports.

Meanwhile, two people in the United States were reported killed over the weekend after they were struck by lightning.

According to VOA reports, deaths from lightning strikes in US remained at their highest level since 2010.

Some 29 deaths have been recorded in the US from lightning-related accidents, the highest number since 2010, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

Source: Vientiane Times