Uganda: Lightning Kills Six, Injures 25


Six people, including two brothers, have been struck dead by lightning in Bushenyi and Rukiga districts following heavy rain.

Five people were struck in Nyakatende Cell, Kakira Ward, Bitooma Town Council in Bushenyi District yesterday, while 25 others were injured and admitted to various hospitals.

On Monday, two people were struck by lightning in Rwamucucu Sub-county, Rukiga District.

The speaker of Bitooma Town Council, Mr Basias Kakuru, said: “This is very tragic, those who have died were mainly young people and a source of hope for their respective families.”

The councillor for Rwamucucu Sub-county, Mr Eddy Mugisha, identified the victims as Calaveri Twesigye, 61 and Thadeous Tumukunde, 28, both residents of Rwabatungu village, Noozi parish, Rwamucucu Sub-county, Rukiga District.

He said the incident happened at around 2:30pm during a downpour.

Mr Mugisha said Twesigye died on the spot, while Mr Tumukunde was rushed to Mparo Health Centre IV in critical condition.

He said the victims were grazing cows and goats on top of Kikuba Hill.

The Greater Bushenyi regional police commander, Mr Eddie Sserunjogi, told Daily Monitor yesterday that the Bushenyi incident happened around 11.30 am.

He identified the dead as Innocent Atwemeraireho, 17, and his young brother Nickson Akankunda, 13, Sam Tayebwa, 50, Justus Byamukama, 15, and Shallot Tuhiirwe, 17.

Those who were injured were admitted at Kampala International University Teaching Hospital in Bushenyi-Ishaka Municipality and Comboni Hospital in Kyamuhunga Town Council.

“We have registered sudden deaths of five people, who have been struck by lightning. The deceased and survivors had taken shelter in a temporary structure near a tea plantation,” Mr Serunjogi said.

Police could not establish whether the victims were workers in the tea plantation in the area.

Nyakatende is located about 14 kilometers from Ishaka Town, and a few kilometers off Bushenyi-Kasese road.

The area MP, Mr Raphael Magezi, however, said majority of the victims were workers in the tea plantations in Bitooma.

He said the area is prone to lightning.

In 2014, lightning killed six people in Nyakibingo which neighbours Nyakatende. Government should send experts to identify the cause of these lightning strikes in the area,” he said.

Mr Magezi said residents speculate that the area has minerals that could be attracting lightning.

About lightning

What it is. Lightning is a giant discharge of electricity accompanied by a brilliant flash of light and a loud crack of thunder. The spark can reach over 8kms in length, raise the temperature of the air by as much as 27,700 oC, and contain hundreds of millions of electrical volts.

Danger. Talking on the telephone is the leading cause of lightning injuries inside the home. Lightning can kill people or cause cardiac arrest. Injuries range from severe burns and permanent brain damage to memory loss and personality change. About 10 per cent of lightning-stroke victims are killed, and 70 per cent suffer serious long-term effects.

If you can hear thunder, you are within 16kms of a storm–and can be struck by lightning. Seek shelter and avoid situations in which you may be vulnerable.

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Publish date : 2019-06-05 07:53:44

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