Careful planning called key to overcoming both climate disasters and COVID-19

gnlm opinion

We have seen reports of gale-force winds and lightning strikes across the country these days, with daily fatalities and damages of buildings.
Meanwhile, the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology has warned the public to stay indoors, mostly in the evenings of the pre-monsoon season on preparedness for gale-force winds and lightning strikes.
With the formation of cumulus clouds in the pre-monsoon and post-monsoon season, there has been an increase in the number of lightning strikes, hailstorms, and gale-force winds.
Apart from thunderstorms, gusty winds are likely to hit areas where cumulus clouds are formed this month.
The number of deaths from lightning has also increased, reaching over 100 during some years. It has been found that a majority of victims were farmers, and they were struck by lightning while working in the farms.
The death toll from lightning strikes is expected to continue rising year by year.
Like other countries, Myanmar struggling with the coronavirus pandemic, is likely to also battle weather-related crises, from heat waves to gale-force winds and lightning, in the coming months.
While raising awareness about the COVID-19, the authorities should advise people to follow the instructions sent by the department and stay in safe places to avoid such tragedies which are preventable.
There are ways in which people can protect themselves and reduce the risk of death.
We must switch off electrical appliances such as televisions and mobile phones during rainstorms accompanied by thunder and lightning. We must avoid staying or working in the field and must heed to lightning strike alerts.
Particularly the farmers, farmhands and cattle-grazers should get back to safer places whenever there is a thunderstorm or lightning. This will prevent tragedies.
Gale-force winds, which tend to follow heavy rainfall, hit parts of Myanmar every year, destroying homes and toppling trees.
We could expect more lightning strikes rather than a gradual increase as the world warms up due to climate change.
To handle extreme weather and virus outbreaks at the same time, careful planning is needed while marshalling resources to limit the spread of COVID-19.

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