Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Lightning strikes 50 in Pader- Uganda

More than 50 people were on Sunday evening admitted to Pader Kilak Health Centre III and Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) 5th Division heath facility after they were struck by lightning in Kilak Sub-county in Pader district.
One of the survivors, Mr David Can-Ongola, said the incident happened at about 3pm when it was raining at a funeral in Winya village in Ogwil parish.
Mr Robert Oweka, the subcounty chairperson, said the 36 injured were admitted to the UPDF health facility while 28 were admitted to Pader Kilak Health Centre.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Tanzania: Eight Perish After Lightning Hits Kigoma School

EIGHT people, including six pupils and a teacher at Kibirizi Primary School in Ujiji municipality, Kigoma Region, were struck dead and 15 others left injured by lightning that occurred at noon.
In a briefing to the 'Daily News' over the phone yesterday, the Kigoma Regional Police Commander (RPC), Mr Ferdinand Mtui, confirmed the incident, saying it occurred while the pupils were in their classrooms.
"It is true that the incident occurred, killing eight people, including six pupils and a teacher. Among them was a passer-by," he said, adding that the lightning was caused by the heavy rains that pounded the area.
According to the information provided by the Doctor-in-Charge of the Kigoma Regional Hospital, Mr Fadhili Kabaya, the deceased were mentioned as a teacher at the school, Elinaza Mbwambo (25) and Focas Ntahaba (45), a resident of Bangwe area in Kigoma municipality.
Others who died are Yusuph Ntahoma (8), Hassan Ally (9), Fatuma Sley (7), Zamda Seif (8), Shukurani Yohana (7) and Warupe Kapupa (10), all Standard One pupils at the school.
The doctor further reported that they had received 15 casualties, 10 out of whom were treated and discharged upon recovery. Five more pupils are still undergoing medical treatment at the hospital.
One of the survivors, a teacher, Ms Merina Sililo, described the incident as shocking and heartbreaking, thanking God for her survival.
She narrated that the incident happened in a fraction of a second as lightning struck her and several pupils in the classrooms. Apart from those who died, several others lost consciousness.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Grief As Lightning Kills Dominant Gorilla In Bwindi- Uganda

Rukina was head of the Kyaguliro group in Bwindi
Rukina was head of the Kyaguliro group in Bwindi 
One of oldest male gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park named Rukina has passed away.
The sad news was announced this morning by Uganda Wildlife Authority Managing Director Dr Andrew Seguya.
The silverback Rukina was the dominant male of a 20 strong Kyaguliro group, in the National Park in South Western Uganda.
Male Alpha Rukina
Male Alpha Rukina

Seguya revealed that Rukina had been struck dead by lightning in the downpour that ravaged the region over the past days.
“This is to announce the death of ‘Rukina’ the Silverback of the Kyaguliro gorilla group that was hit by lightning,” announced Seguya.
Rukina’s Kyaguliro group is one of the seven groups in Bwindi, but was set aside for research, while the rest are for tourism.
It is estimated that that Rukina was born around 1984. He was well identified as a group member of the Kyagurilo Group in the late 1990’s when he was a young silverback.
It was at this time that he was named ‘Rukina’, meaning ‘playful’ in Rujiga, due to his playful nature as a young adult. He became the dominant silverback of the group in August of 2004, following a 3 year struggle for dominance over the previous dominant silverback (Zeus).
Through genetic analysis of fecal samples, UWA officials confirmed that he sired his first offspring when he was still a subordinate male in 2002.
“Overall, he likely sired 10 offspring, most of whom are currently still infants. During his 11 year tenure as the dominant silverback he attracted four females into his group from neighboring groups, attesting to his ability to be a good leader,” said UWA in a statement. 
“He was a very tolerant silverback, spending a lot of time with the adult females as well as his many infants. At the time of his death, the group was at its largest size, containing 21 gorillas, including 8 adult females.”
Rukina contributed to the understanding of the ecology and social behavior of Bwindi mountain gorillas due to the focus of research on his group by the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology since 1998.
He helped promote the plight of the critically endangered mountain gorillas around the world by being filmed for several documentary films including one by the BBC.
UWA says this group will now be led by Rukara the next Silverback.
“There was a great instability in the group from yesterday till today.However, in the afternoon the trackers noted some bit of calmness though this may take a bit of time before the group fully recovers from this unexpected shock. May his soul rest in peace.”

Lightning kills 5, injures 18 at Easter mass

Lightning struck while Easter Mass was in progress at a Tanzania Assemblies of God church in Chato District, Geita District, leaving five people dead and 18 injured.
Geita Regional Police Commander Joseph Konyo confirmed the incident, saying those killed are Daud Medard (20), Daud Lazaro (20), Saimon Marco (15), Haile Shija (20) and Monica Sumuni (19). 
He said four of the injured are admitted to Bwanga Dispensary, naming three of them as Mabula Mathias (8), Fabian Ezekiel (10) and Edina Leonard (21) and adding that the identity of the fourth was yet to be established.
Doctor In-charge at the dispensary Deogratias John, confirmed having received the 18 injured, saying 14 of them were discharged the very day they were admitted but the remaining four are still getting treatment at the health facility.
Commenting on the incident, the Councillor of the ward, Mahobe Chiza, said the incident was one of its kind to have taken place during Easter festivities.
“Believers were celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ while it was raining. Then lightning struck killing five of them and injuring several others,” the Councillor said.
For his part, the church pastor, Deus Mhangwa, said his church has lost a good number of followers on the day they were celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“Everyone will die but the death of those Christians has come suddenly,” the pastor said.
He noted that the church as well as the nation has lost believers and manpower.
Incidents of lightning that end up killing many people are very common in western Tanzania’s regions of Kigoma, Kagera, Geita, Rukwa and Katavi. 
In a similar incident, lightning struck at a school in Kigoma in February this year where six children and their teacher were killed, officials said.
"A teacher and six students died on the spot and 11 students were injured after they were struck by lightning in their classroom following heavy rains," the President's Office said in a statement.
The accident occurred on the weekend of February 22, this year.
President Jakaya Kikwete who called for calm from teachers and pupils said in a statement he was "shocked and saddened" by the incident, which occurred in Kigoma Region.
The schoolchildren killed by the striking lightning were aged between 11 and 14 years old, police officials said.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

13 killed by lightning, in two months, in Masvingo Province, Zimbabwe

MASVINGO — Lightning has struck for the third time in Tavengahama village, Chief Nhema, killing two imbibers at a traditional beer brew on Sunday, bringing the province’s lightning death toll to 13 since the beginning of this year.

In February, 11 people died in two separate incidents after being struck by lightning.
Seven family members from Chief Mazungunye area, Bikita, were left charred after their grass-thatched houses went up in smoke during a thunderstorm.
This incident occurred on 02/02/2015.

Two weeks later, four others from Mukaka village under Chief Maranda in Mwenezi died on the spot after being struck by a bolt of lightning as they sought shelter under a tree.
THis incident occurred on 15/02/2015

In the latest incident, (29/03/2015), Witness Matizha (23) and Joseph Makava (63) from Chidoko village, Chief Nhema in Zaka had gone for a traditional beer drink at their neighbour’s homestead.
While drinking with other patrons, sources said, it suddenly started raining and other drinkers sought shelter in a grass-thatched house while the now deceased remained outside. Sources said a thunderbolt struck killing the two instantly. Acting Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Nkululeko Nduna was unreachable for comment. Fellow villagers said the incident signalled a bad omen.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Lightning Strikes Two Dead in Bugiri, Uganda

Lightning has struck dead two family members and injured two others in Bugiri district. The incident occurred on Tuesday morning at Bukamboli village in Iwemba Sub County during a heavy down pour.
The deceased have been identified as 32-year-old Alfred Kundu and his 5-year-old son Josy Kundu. Pascal Were, the LC I chairperson Bukamboli village says the duo died instantly after being hit by the thunderbolt at their home.
He says the deceased’s wife Anna Maria Nelina and their three- year–old-daughter Patricia Naliaka sustained burns on the head and hands. They are admitted at Bugiri main hospital.
Nelina says she heard a loud bang before a sharp light cut through the window only for her to realize that her husband and son had been struck dead. She says by the time the incident happened she was busy preparing breakfast.
Godfrey Musimami, the officer in charge of operations Bugiri central police station says the bodies of the deceased were handed over to their relatives for burial.
Musimami has members of the public to install lightning conductors on their houses to avoid similar incidents.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

12 killed by lightning in KwaZulu-Natal

Durban -
Twelve deaths by lightning at the weekend, including nine people seeking shelter in a rondavel with a tin roof, brought to 18 the number of lightning fatalities in KwaZulu-Natal in less than a month.
According to Zululand district deputy mayor, Esther Qwabe, the nine victims had sought refuge at a Khoza homestead in the Nongoma area, where they were attending a traditional function hosted by the Khoza family.
Relatives Mboneni Khoza, 47, brothers Mfaniseni, 23, and Hlanganani Ntshangase, 32, relatives Themba Zulu, 55 and Thembinkosi Zulu, 21, and Mfaniseni Nene, 36, were killed when they took shelter from a storm under a corrugated iron roof.
The identities of three more had not been made available, said Qwabe. Two of them had died later in hospital.
Seventeen people in the same rondavel sustained injuries. They were treated at Benedictine Hospital and discharged.
Soon after this incident, two more people were struck dead by lightning in Bhanganoma, also near Nongoma, while another person was killed and 12 injured in a lightning strike in Mbazwana in the same municipality. Their identities were not made available.
Late last month six people were struck by lightning in separate incidents in Colenso, near Ladysmith and in the Vryheid area.
In Colenso a 46-year-old mother, her nine-year-old daughter and her 10-year-old niece died when lightning struck the house they were in.
In the Vryheid area, two women aged between 70 and 80, and a man, believed to be in his sixties, were killed.
Three other women sustained serious injuries.
In Saturday’s tragedies, Nkosentsha Ntshangase, a neighbour of the Khoza family, said it started out hot but in the afternoon the weather suddenly changed to overcast.
“As the thick black clouds gathered, about 26 people ran into the rondavel. Four of those people were my family members. Two of them were killed and the other two survived.
“Two Khoza relatives died. The rondavel and the victims were not burnt but their bodies had taken a different shape and colour,” said the distraught Ntshangase, who is also the family spokesman for the Khozas. He said incidents such as this were not common in the area, and that it would take time for the families to get over the deaths.
Qwabe said: “It is a sad reality that these things happen. We cry with the families. We need to try and exercise some caution in hot weather with sudden gathering of black clouds.
“People should sit down, no activity (should take place) in the house, windows must be opened and there should not be a large group in one room,” Qwabe said.
She said they were returning to the families on Monday to install lightning conductors at the homes of the victims’ families.
The rods, according to KZN government official, Senzelwe Mzila, could cost about R8 000 for a 26m conductor.
“The rod must be taller than the house, any other structure in the yard or trees. In the case of rondavels, a household could require about 16m of the rod. These are found in local hardware stores,” Mzila said.
Jan Vermeulen, senior forecaster at the national weather service in Cape Town, said lightning had been expected in parts of KZN at the weekend.
He said it was dangerous for a group of people to gather in one room during storms. Vermeulen said lightning always entered a structure from the highest point – hence the advisability of conductors.
Co-operative Governance MEC, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, visited the families yesterday. She said: “We are shocked as this incident comes hot on the heels of another lightning incident which left six people dead in the area of Colenso and Paulpietersburg.
“Our expert teams are working around the clock to assist the affected individuals and families.”
She urged people to install lightning conductors.
Dube-Ncube said the province would help the families in preparing for the funerals. Conductors would also be installed in the homes of the victims.
She said counselling was being arranged for the families.