Lightning Hazard Safety Measures and Awareness in Bangladesh

Authors: Md Sariful Islam*, PhD Student, Department of Geography, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Thomas Schmidlin, Professor, Department of Geography, Kent State University
Topics: Hazards and Vulnerability, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: Lightning, Bangladesh, Perception, GIS, Hazard, Awareness
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Balcony B, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Lightning is one of the most widespread and deadly hazards in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has among the highest death rates of any country. The main objective of this study is to analyze the people’s perception to investigate the potential misconceptions and myths on lightning. This paper addresses present safety knowledge and awareness among people, the spatial variation of lightning strikes from 1998 to 2013 and spatial variation of lightning deaths from 2011 to 2015 in Bangladesh. People’s perception on lightning has been analyzed using field surveys and the spatial variation of lightning strikes and deaths has been analyzed using Geographic Information System (GIS). The results of this paper revealed that there are some misconceptions, myths, and misunderstanding among the different demographic group of people in Bangladesh. Analysis of annual spatial variation of lightning density suggests that the northern and northeastern part of Bangladesh have the highest lightning flash rate density. Pre-monsoon season experiences the highest rate of flash density among all seasons. Analysis of spatial variation of lightning deaths suggests that Chapai-Nawabganj district of Bangladesh is in the top of the lightning death rates per million people per district over years 2011 to 2015. It was found that the main reasons behind this large number of deaths are lack of lightning safety knowledge and awareness, lack of shelters, and lack of lightning safety precaution training. To improve this situation and minimize the loss of lives and property, a comprehensive plan and policy should be developed.

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