BUSHENYI, UGANDA: At least five people have been killed and 25 others injured when lightning struck during a downpour in Nyakatembe village in Bitooma sub-county, Bushenyi district on Tuesday,The Daily Monitor and New Vision newspapers report.
The Police identified the deceased as Innocent Atwerireho, 18, Nickson Akankunda, 13, Elisam Tayebwa 65, Shallot Muhwerirwe 14 and Justus Kansiime 15, all residents of Kakira parish in Bitooma sub-county Bushenyi district.
The survivor’s names were not easily established because they are receiving treatment from various hospitals.
The LC 1 chairman of Nyakatembe Cell, George Tumwesigye said the incident happened at around midday on Tuesday.
He said in total 30 people were struck by lightning as they were taking shelter in a tea collection shade at Nyakatembe village in Bitooma.
He added that five died on spot, while the other 25 injured were rushed to Hospital in Kyamuhunga town council and Ishaka municipality respectively.
John Bomukama, a resident in the area said “We heard a loud big bang which was very unusual. We later saw many people lay on the ground thereafter.”
He said they later discovered that five of them had died on the spot something that left the whole village in shock.
Bomukama said that men and women were from collecting tea in tea plantations nearby and around the area and had taken shelter at the tea shade.
David Muhanguzi another resident of the area said the heavy down pour which started early in the morning had been characterised by lightning and storms.
Eddie SSerunjogi, Greater Bushenyi regional police commander confirmed the incident. “It’s true five people in Bitooma have been struck by lightning and died instantly.
The injured ones, about 25 of them have been taken to Kampala International University (KIU) and Comboni hospitals where we are closely monitoring them to see that they recover well,” SSerunjogi said.
Good Samaritans took the bodies to KIU for post-mortem to help Police with investigations.
SSerunjogi advised the people of Bushenyi to always wear shoes and avoid taking shelter under high or tall objects to minimise the risks of being struck by lightning.
“Some people do not take wearing shoes seriously, especially in remote areas, this is risky and we want people to take this matter seriously,” he said.
Bushenyi district is prone to lightning strikes which have left several people dead, the most recent incident happened in September 2016 where eight pupils of Buramba Primary School in Bushenyi-Ishaka municipality were struck dead.
In November 2015, lightning killed five pupils of Nyakabingo Primary School in Kakanju sub-county, Igara West in Bushenyi district and left four others injured.