Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Lightning kills 3 children, injures four other people

A lightning bolt has struck and killed three children as heavy rains hit Kabale district.
Four other people sustained injuries after being struck on Sunday (28th Spetember 2014) night. The dead are all from Nyamasiizi Parish in Hamurwa Sub County.
The heavy downpour which started on Sunday evening extended to morning hours of Monday triggering off mudslides in the area that blocked the roads.
The dead have been identified as Zozima Mucunguzi, son of Francis Karabaye; Martin Akankwasa, a son of Deus Bandonda and Nalsi Byarugaba  a son to Silva Tirwomwe all residents of Nyamasiizi. All the dead were children below the age of 16.
Ivan Byamukama, an area resident says that the locals started running for shelter when the lightning struck several times. The deceased had taken shelter at a house belonging to Francis Karabaye when they were struck.
Four other people who were injured in separate strikes are receiving treatment at Rubanda Health Centre IV in Hamurwa Town council –Rubanda East County.
Kigezi regional Police spokesperson Elly Maate confirms the incident and says that the only important issue is strengthening the safety measures.
Rubanda county East Member of Parliament Henry Musasizi told URN on phone that the the leadership will continue to sensitize the locals on the safety precautions to escape lightning.
Lightning strikes in the Kigezi region are quite common with the most affected areas being the districts of Kisoro and Kabale.
The strikes usually become common between the months of September and December when heavy rains hit the area.
In October 2013, five people were killed after being struck by lightning in separate incidents.
The incidents took place in Rwamucucu and Kashambya sub counties.
On the 16th of September 2012 seven people were killed in Kabale and Kisoro districts.

Source: http://www.redpepper.co.ug

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Steel manufacturer says power surges caused Shs3b losses- Uganda

Steel manufacturer, Roofings Group, has said it has lost equipment worth of $1.2 million (Shs3.1 billion) over the last 10 months due to power surges.
The Group technical director, Mr Sheikh Arif, said he believes the surges were caused by lightning strikes to electrical sub-stations, which distribute power to businesses and homes, as well as old equipment at the sub stations.
Another likely cause of the unstable power, according to the manufacturer, may be the erratic use of electricity, such as turning large motors on and off abruptly by neighbouring factories in the Namanve Industrial Area, he said.
“It is not power cuts, it is the power spikes,” Mr Arif said, clarifying the alleged source of his company’s losses to reporters and parliamentarians at the Namanve factory on Wednesday.
“If power goes off, the production line stops. The material we would have been producing [when the surge happens] goes to waste,” Mr Arif explained, adding that the surges occur almost on a daily basis.
Umeme head of communications Henry Rugamba, who confirmed his company is aware of the electricity issues Roofings Group faces, said: “I know the frustration of businesses and domestic customers,” adding that Umeme has responded to “any issues (they) report, but it is all infrastructure issues,” he said.
He added that improvements to electricity lines running to other industrial areas, like the Kampala-Mukono line, have been made in the last year.
“That has ensured better power to companies with more manageable electricity demands than the Roofings Group,” he said.
Still, the negative effects of unstable electricity on the productivity of businesses are widely recognized, including in a 2013 report by the World Bank. The bank’s ‘World Doing Business Report’ also notes that unreliable power can prevent companies from receiving a full return on the investments made, into machinery and properties, for example, by restricting productive capacity.
“To mitigate the problem of unstable electricity, you require an upgrade of the [power] line and the sub-stations because the sub-stations are quite old,” Mr Arif said, suggesting sub-stations belonging to electricity companies should be upgraded to stabilize power. “Once you have the
upgrade, the losses could be reduced.”

Source: Daily Monitor Uganda (www.monitor.co.ug)

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Luanshya Schools Lack Lightning arrestors-Education Board [Zambia]

Time Posted: September 11, 2014 7:04 am

Luanshya District Education Board Secretary (DEBS) Rogers Chisenga has observed that most schools in the district were not well insulated with lightening arrestors as they have had the implements stolen.
The observation follows yesterday’s incident in which 12 pupils and three teachers from Luashya Central Secondary School were struck by lightning following unexpected rains that left a trail of destruction.
Mr Chisenga said there is urgent need to source money for the installation and replacement of lightening arresters in all schools in the district to avoid similar future incidences.
He was speaking in Luanshya today when he visited Luanshya Central secondary school to appreciate the extent of damage left by the lengthening which swept through a classroom block.
He noted with regret that most schools in the district were old and that their electrical insulation had grown weak, while in some other schools the installations have been stolen.
Mr Chisenga stated that his office was urgently working towards restoring power and water to the school to ensure adequate preparation of final examinations for Grades 12 and nines.
And school head teacher Chanda Nsofwa said all the 13 pupils were in a stable condition and that some had even reported for school.
He however said the school had engaged the local water utility company to consider opening up a direct connection to the school to avoid disruption of the school calander as examination classes were doing their final preparations.
Meanwhile, Luanshya District Commissioner Harold Mbaulu attributed the incident to poor wiring at the school.
Yesterday, 15 people sustained injuries when lightning struck through a classroom block following unexpected heavy rains that also left a trail of destruction as people were caught unaware.
Business came to a standstill in the central district as traders panicked to secure their merchandise as a heavy down pour surged the district.
Taxi drivers evaded the streets to catch customers who had no choice but to seek refuge from them.
A taxi driver Martin Kaputani said the rains were a blessing as they had boosted business which was until then was slow.