Seven people, mostly farmers, have been killed by lightning in a village in India’s northern Uttar Pradesh state, bringing the death toll by lightning to 49 people in the state this week.
The farmers had taken shelter under trees during a drenching monsoon rain when they were struck by lightning on Tuesday and died instantly.
The victims included four members of a family and some cattle graziers near the city of Kaushambi, according to police officer Hem Raj Meena.
The high death toll has prompted the government to issue new guidelines for how people can protect themselves during a lightning storm, said state government spokesman Shishir Singh.
“People are dying more from lightning than rain-related incidents, though this is the time when people (typically) die of floods or other rain-related incidents,” Singh said.
India’s monsoon season runs from June through September.
Colonel Sanjay Srivastava, who works with the Indian Meteorological Department, said lightning had killed nearly 750 people across India since April, including 20 people in eastern Bihar state in the past two days and 16 in Madhya Pradesh state in central India earlier this month.
Sunita Narain, director-general of the Center for Science and Environment, said global warming played a role in the rising number of lightning strikes.
A 1C rise in temperature increases lightning by 12 times.