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Lightning kills 2, injures one in KU

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Two people of the same family died in Kasungu District while one person was injured after lightning struck them on Saturday, bringing the number of such deaths to 14 across the country since July 2018.

Kasungu Police deputy spokesperson, Miracle Mkozi, identified the deceased as Monica Mwale, 34, and his daughter 4-year-old Eunice Mwale both from Siuluka Village in Sub Traditional Authority Chitanthamapiri in the district.

“On the particular day, the family members were sleeping and it was raining. At around 4 o’clock in the morning as it continued raining, lightning struck, killing the mother and the child while the father, Evance Mwale, aged 38, got injured,” Mkozi said.

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She said the victims were taken to Gogode Health Centre where the mother and the child were pronounced dead while the father was referred to Kasungu District Hospital where he is admitted.

Early this year, the Department of Climate Change and meteorological Services Director, Jolam Nkhokwe, said there was an ncrease in cases of deaths by lightning in the country due to massive deforestation, among other factors.

Nkhokwe advised against sitting directly under trees during the rainy season, saying lightning can strike people together with the tree.

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Nkhokwe said lightning is a form of electrical current in the clouds which is formed by friction of rising air and descending moisture in form of precipitation.

He said lightning is formed in cumulonimbus or thunder clouds that have negative and positive charges on top and bottom.

He said there are three types of lightning but the most dangerous one originates from clouds that are closer to earth.

Nkhokwe said other risky areas are mountains because thunder is formed when air is forced to rise on the mountain.

Department of Disaster Management Affairs has since announced plans to roll out lightning detectors across the country to be providing alerts through mobile phone text messages on the possibility of lighting striking in a particular location so that people can prepare.

 

How to staying safe from lightning

  • Stay away from open fields or hilltops
  • Avoid swimming or watersports on rainy days.
  • Do not stand near trees or tall isolated objects
  • Avoid metal objects, like fences or exposed pipes
  • Add a lightning rod to your roof
  • Avoid bathing, showering, or using sinks as much as possible
  • Turn off and stay away from wired electronics
  • Keep your windows closed
  • Run to your vehicle for safety
  • Place your hands in your lap
  • Do not handle the radio or your GPS system
  • Pull to the side of the road in heavy storms.
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