The Bihar Post

Deaths all over: After encephalitis & heat waves, lightning claims many lives in Bihar

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PATNA: After suspected encephalitis and heat waves, lightning accompanied with thunderstorms claimed many lives in Bihar over the past three days, prompting the state government to announce monetary compensation for the victim families.

According to an official report, thunderstorm and lightning killed 10 people in Bihar over the past three days. Maximum casualties were reported from three eastern Bihar districts of Khagaria, Banka and Jamui.

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While on the one hand, the monsoon rains which lashed the regions brought much-needed respite to the people suffering from intense heat waves, lightning which accompanied the rains brought disasters.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar while expressing grief over the incident announced a compensation of Rs400,000 to each victim family.

“The chief minister has expressed grief over the deaths of people in thunderstorms, lightning and rains in the state and ordered for payment of immediate compensation to the victim families,” a Press statement issued by the office of the chief minister said on Sunday.

The chief minister also announced adequate compensation to the people getting injured due to lightning and thunderstorms and ordered for proper treatment.

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Bihar already had plenty of natural disasters this year, claiming scores of lives of villagers. While the severe heat waves killed over 300 people in the state, suspected encephalitis has claimed lives of more than 150 children in Muzaffarpur district alone over the past one fortnight.

Strangely, majority of the suspected encephalitis victims hail from Dalit and minority families.

As per the report, of the total suspected encephalitis victims, 77 percent belongs to Dalit families and 11 percent from Muslim families whereas the remaining 12 percent from other communities.

Health experts blame malnourishment, heat and humidity the main factors behind the death of children.

A report of state health department further states that of the total encephalitis victims, majority of them (55 percent) are girls.

Likewise, 53 percent of the children suffering from suspected encephalitis fall in the age-group of 0 to four years, 37 percent in the age-group of five to nine years nine percent in the age-group of 10 to 14 years whereas only one percent of victims were found aged above 15 years.

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