World

NEW DELHI (APP) – At least 70 people have been killed by lightning in India over the past two days as annual monsoon rains sweep the country, disaster management officials said on Wednesday.

Lightning strikes are relatively common in India during the June-October monsoon, which hit the southern coast earlier this month, but this week’s death toll due to lightning is particularly high.

An overnight storm in the eastern state of Bihar killed at least 47 people and injured another 22, mostly in rural areas.

“We have confirmation of 47 deaths and fear the toll may go up as reports are pouring in from other districts,” Anirudh Kumar, a senior official at Bihar’s disaster management agency, told AFP.

Authorities in the neighboring state of Uttar Pradesh also confirmed the death of 20 people over the last two days.

Lightning kills thousands of Indians every year, most of them farmers working the fields. According to the most recent available figures with the National Crime Records Bureau, more than 2,500 people were killed by lightning in India in 2014.