Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lightening stricking across Uganda, kills 23 school children and injures many.

Uganda has suffered devastating lightning strikes in the last two weeks which have left more than 30 people dead in the past one week.

At least 21 people perished on Tuesday 28th June when lightning struck three locations in different parts of Uganda. By 10:00pm on Tuesday night, 17 pupils and one student teacher had been pronounced dead by medics at Kiryandongo hospital, 210km north of Kampala when lighting struck their classroom. By today evening 6 more pupils have been confirmed dead as several were referred to Mulago National Referral hospital for more specialized medical attention.

Two other deaths have been reported in Eastern Uganda. Lightning struck a village in Sironko district killing a 58 year old man identified as Hassan Wandulu, Mr Aramanzan Dongo in Mpogo in Sironko was also struck at about 3.00pm during a heavy down pour accompanied by hail stones on Tuesday evening. Lightning strikes also spread to Karamoja region striking a school in Kotido district, killing one pupil and injuring another instantly. One woman was also injured in Lyantonde District.

Lightning Safety Measures

According to Meteorologists, when inside a building, avoid use of telephones, taking a shower, washing your hands, doing dishes, or any contact with conductive surfaces with exposure to the outside such as metal door or window frames, electrical wiring, telephone wiring, cables, TV wiring, plumbing, etc. Avoid taking shelter under a tree since lighting often strikes the highest spot in an area. Ducking below a tall tree is definitely not a good idea since you’ll probably be struck at the same time. The best solution is to crouch, in a fetal position, only vertical, and to stand on your toes, the idea being to minimize the contact area with the ground.

You should also lose all metal objects like watches, lighters, belt buckles and metallic jewelry.

The ideal hiding place is a car because its body has a wide surface area, thus dissipating the electrical current and acting like a protective cage. But one should avoid contact with metals while in the car and all windows should be rolled up. Schools and tall buildings should install a lightning rod.

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