MITHI: Tharparkar district council has asked the Mehran University of Engineering and Technology to help it put in place a safety mechanism for safeguarding lives of humans as well as livestock from increasing incidents of lightning strikes in the desert region during rains.
Dr Ghulam Hyder Samejo, chairman of the district council, urged the vice chancellor of MUET in a letter to propose safety measures against the lightning strikes, said sources.
He expressed deep concern over loss of human lives and requested the VC to help them find a solution to avoid the losses. Over the past few years, several people and hundreds of cattle died after being struck by lightning, he said.
He said that it was need of the hour to carry out research into the causes behind frequent lightning strikes during rainfall in the entire desert region comprising Tharparkar and parts of Umerkot districts.
Dr Samejo said that three people and over 300 livestock perished only a few days back when parts of the desert had witnessed first showers of winter season. During previous monsoon season, over 15 people and hundreds of cattle heads had perished in lightning strikes, he said.
“We plan to install safety rods in human settlements but we want to do so in the light of expert advice and, therefore, I have written the letter to the VC requesting him to send teams to help us in our sincere efforts,” he concluded.
Social activists Krishan Sharma, Wali Mohammad Rahimoon, Akbar Dars, Salim Samejo and others, who were working on different issues of the region, recalled that after the fateful day of Nov 15, 2019, when the lighting strikes had killed 28 people in the desert district, they had raised the issue and demanded Sindh government carry out research and provide Tharis and their livestock adequate safety measures against the natural phenomena.
They noted that mining companies engaged in coal extraction in Thar Coalfields had installed safety rods around their installations to protect themselves from lightning and demanded similar measures for over 2,400 villages and other human settlements across the district to save precious lives and avert losses in future.
Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2023