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lightning Mexico is high risk for death by lightning.

Lightning kills 223 people a year in Mexico, says WHO

Deaths in Mexico are commonly blamed on drug cartel-related violence, and with good reason. But another cause of death might come as a surprise.

The World Health Organization says more people die from lightning strikes in Mexico than anywhere else, at an average of 223 per year. And a national electrical association says 12,000 people were injured by lightning between 2005 and 2011.

Lightning has been in the news more than usual this week following the posting of a video of a couple vacationing in Akumal. The pair were posing for a selfie when lightning struck behind them.

They were luckier than many, however.

In 2001, six soccer players died and four were injured by a lightning strike in Morelia, Michoacán. They had run to take shelter under a tree from a sudden storm.

In 2011, three young girls in Juan Chamula, Chiapas, lost their lives when they too ran for the shelter of a tree during a downpour.

These tragic events confirm the lack of knowledge that people have about what to do during an electrical storm, says a researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Beata Kucienska said in those cases they ran to the wrong places.

It’s important to avoid objects that are high and have pointy ends such as trees, poles or antennas, and get out of the water if you’re on a beach or in a swimming pool. Water is a good conductor of electricity: if lightning strikes a swimming pool it’s going to electrocute everyone in it.

Mountains, especially near the peaks, are also risky places. A better place to be is inside a well built house or in a car with doors and windows closed.

But even inside a house there is risk and it’s not recommended that you use a fixed-line telephone, bathe or wash your hands in the sink.

Source: Excélsior (esp)

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