In Odisha, lightning claims about 400 lives every year — more than that by any other natural calamity.
To tackle the effect of these bolts from the blue, the government of Odisha is all set to introduce a mobile app called Satark (caution) that will not only provide early warning of lightning to users, but also send out alerts to anyone whose presence is detected through their mobile signal in an area which is at risk from an impending lightning strike.
Non-smartphone users can receive SMS alerts through this system, the SRC said.
Of course, Odisha is not the first state to introduce such an app. Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have already implemented the Sidulu and the Vajrapaat mobile apps to provide early warning of lightning.
However, in the case of Odisha, its adoption is critical because as a littoral state, it is particularly vulnerable to meteorological hazards such as tropical cyclones, heavy rainfall, thunderstorms and so on — all of which can bring on fatal lightning events.
As many as 456 human lives have been lost during the year 2017-18 due to lightning, which records a 15% increase over that in the last year.