Lightning fatalities and injuries in Nepal

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  • 1 Institute for Disaster Management and Reconstruction, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China
  • 2 Department of Civil Engineering, Institute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University, Nepal
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Abstract

The lightning hazard is one of the devastating hazards in Nepal due to a large amount of atmospheric water vapor coming from the Indian Ocean and a large orographic lifting of this moist air. In 2019, a total of 2884 people were affected with loss of 110982 USD and the fatality was highest (94) in reported lightning events in reported lightning events since 1971. The long-term analysis of this hazard is very scanty in Nepal. Therefore, this study analyzes lightning fatality events, fatality rates, and economic loss from 1971 to 2019 collected from Desinventar dataset and the Disaster Risk Reduction portal of the Government of Nepal using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and Geographical Information System (ArcGIS) tools. The analysis shows that the overall countrywide lightning fatality rate of the entire period is 1.77 per million per year. The district lightning fatality rates range from 0.10 to 4.83 per million people per year and the Bhaktapur district has the highest fatality density (0.067). Furthermore, there were altogether 2501 lightning fatality events where 1927 people lost their lives and 20569 people were affected. The increase in lightning fatality events in recent years is due to internet penetration and other measures of information gathering that results in lightning fatality reports reaching agencies collecting information. The high and low concentration of loss and damage are mainly due to geographic distribution, population density, and economic activities. This study recommends the establishment of Lightning Early Warning Systems in the Nepal Himalaya to save life and property.

Abstract

The lightning hazard is one of the devastating hazards in Nepal due to a large amount of atmospheric water vapor coming from the Indian Ocean and a large orographic lifting of this moist air. In 2019, a total of 2884 people were affected with loss of 110982 USD and the fatality was highest (94) in reported lightning events in reported lightning events since 1971. The long-term analysis of this hazard is very scanty in Nepal. Therefore, this study analyzes lightning fatality events, fatality rates, and economic loss from 1971 to 2019 collected from Desinventar dataset and the Disaster Risk Reduction portal of the Government of Nepal using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and Geographical Information System (ArcGIS) tools. The analysis shows that the overall countrywide lightning fatality rate of the entire period is 1.77 per million per year. The district lightning fatality rates range from 0.10 to 4.83 per million people per year and the Bhaktapur district has the highest fatality density (0.067). Furthermore, there were altogether 2501 lightning fatality events where 1927 people lost their lives and 20569 people were affected. The increase in lightning fatality events in recent years is due to internet penetration and other measures of information gathering that results in lightning fatality reports reaching agencies collecting information. The high and low concentration of loss and damage are mainly due to geographic distribution, population density, and economic activities. This study recommends the establishment of Lightning Early Warning Systems in the Nepal Himalaya to save life and property.

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