Uganda lightning strike death toll rises to 21

Wednesday June 29 2011

By Monitor Team

At least 21 people perished on Tuesday evening when lightning struck three locations in different parts of Uganda, leaving a devastating trail. By 10:00pm on Tuesday night, 17 pupils and one student teacher had been pronounced dead by medics at Kiryandongo hospital, some 210km north of Kampala. They had succumbed to severe burns suffered from the ferocious crash of thunder.

The rise of death toll to 21, up from the 18 reported earlier was confirmed Wednesday morning. Dr. Jimmy Eyiiga, the Kiryandongo medical superintendent confirmed this morning that 18 pupils and one teacher from Runyanya Primary School, in Kiryandongo district are now dead. He added that other pupils who were not yet out of danger have been referred to Mulago National Referral hospital, for more specialized medical attention. Dr. Eyiiga however could not readily offer particulars of the referred victims.

Two other deaths have been reported in Eastern Uganda. Daily Monitor’s David Mafabi reports that lightning struck a village in in Sironko district killing a 58 year old man identified as Hassan Wandulu. Mr Wandulu who had gone to visit a friend, Mr Aramanzan Dongo in Mpogo in Sironko was struck at about 3.00pm during a heavy down pour accompanied by hail stones on Tuesday evening, barely an hour before the Kiryandongo tragedy.

Death to due lightning strikes then spread to Karamoja region, tucked away in north eastern Uganda, striking a school in Kotido district, killing another pupil instantly. Daily Monitor’s Steven Ariong reports that one pupil died on the spot while another one was left in unconscious during Tuesday lightning that struck some parts of Kotido district at around 4.30pm.

The police spokesperson in Karamoja, Mr George Obia identified the victim as Raffle Lotyang who was a primary three pupil at Kotido Army Primary School. The devastation, which is by far the biggest since unseasonal heavy rainstorms descended on the country, formed the highlight of debate on the floor of Parliament yesterday as lawmakers put the government to task to explain what is going on. In the last one week, there have been several incidents of lightning strikes, which have left several people dead and untold damage, across the country.