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Lightning Fatalities and Injuries in Nepal

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  • 1 Institute for Disaster Management and Reconstruction, Sichuan University–The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Chengdu, China
  • | 2 Department of Civil Engineering, Institute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, Nepal
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Abstract

Lightning is one of the most devastating hazards in Nepal because of 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 USD 110,982, and the fatality number was the highest (94) 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 the DesInventar dataset and the Disaster Risk Reduction portal of the government of Nepal using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and geographic 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. 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 a total of 2501 lightning fatality events in which 1927 people lost their lives and 20 569 people were affected. The increase in lightning fatality events in recent years is due to internet penetration and other measures of information gathering that result in lightning fatality reports reaching agencies collecting information. The high and low concentrations 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 Himalayas to save life and property.

Significance Statement

Lightning is one of the major natural hazards in Nepal; it killed 94 people in 2019. This study has analyzed deaths, affected people, events, and economic losses by this hazard from 1971 to 2019. The distribution of events shows that the number of lightning events is increasing year by year. The distribution of lightning events and deaths varies within the country; however, there are some districts with repeated lightning fatality events. The findings of the study will be beneficial for government as well as other developmental organizations to redesign disaster risk reduction plans and policies at national and local levels.

© 2021 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Basanta Raj Adhikari, bradhikari@ioe.edu.np

Abstract

Lightning is one of the most devastating hazards in Nepal because of 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 USD 110,982, and the fatality number was the highest (94) 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 the DesInventar dataset and the Disaster Risk Reduction portal of the government of Nepal using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and geographic 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. 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 a total of 2501 lightning fatality events in which 1927 people lost their lives and 20 569 people were affected. The increase in lightning fatality events in recent years is due to internet penetration and other measures of information gathering that result in lightning fatality reports reaching agencies collecting information. The high and low concentrations 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 Himalayas to save life and property.

Significance Statement

Lightning is one of the major natural hazards in Nepal; it killed 94 people in 2019. This study has analyzed deaths, affected people, events, and economic losses by this hazard from 1971 to 2019. The distribution of events shows that the number of lightning events is increasing year by year. The distribution of lightning events and deaths varies within the country; however, there are some districts with repeated lightning fatality events. The findings of the study will be beneficial for government as well as other developmental organizations to redesign disaster risk reduction plans and policies at national and local levels.

© 2021 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Basanta Raj Adhikari, bradhikari@ioe.edu.np
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