Dhaka: Several lightning bolts struck a wedding party in Bangladesh today, killing 16 people and injuring the groom, according to officials. As the group had just left their boat at the riverside town of Shibganj to take shelter from the thunderstorm, lightning struck, a government administrator said.
Sakib Al-Rabby told a news agency that the bride was not in the wedding party when the bolts struck within seconds of each other in the western district of Chapainawabganj.
Bangladesh has been battered by fierce monsoon storms. During a week of torrential rains in the southeastern district of Cox’s Bazar, around 20 people died, including six Rohingya refugees.
Each year, lightning kills hundreds of people in the South Asian nation.
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An official count shows there were more than 200 lightning deaths in 2016, including 82 on a single day in May. Although many lightning-related deaths are never officially recorded, an independent monitor identified at least 349 deaths from lightning strikes.
Experts believe deforestation has increased the number of lightning-related deaths, as Bangladesh has planted hundreds of thousands of palm trees to reduce the impact of climate change and reduce lightning-related deaths.