By Foster Benjamin:
Three people were killed while four others were injured in separate incidents after lightning struck them in Nsanje and Chikwawa districts over the weekend.
Nsanje Police deputy spokesperson, Pilirani Kondwani, said the lightning struck dead two soccer fans during a weekend match at Dinde Primary School Ground.
“The two, Edson Thanki, 40, and Nota Kenneth, 39, were watching a football match when heavy rainfall accompanied by thunder suddenly started.
“They sought shelter under a mango tree but were immediately killed by lightning which also injured three others; Alick Mwendokufwamba, 43, Collins Zakeyu, 64, and Steven Chakaya, 41,” Kondwani said.
He said the injured were rushed to Nsanje District Hospital for treatment and their condition is reportedly stable.
In a related development, a 22-year-old woman in Chikwawa died on Friday after being struck by lightning while crossing Livunzu River with her husband and their one-year old daughter.
Councillor for Makhuwila South Ward, Manick Ganet, said Esnart Sosten and her husband Kansengwa John were crossing Livunzu River on their way from the garden when the lightning hit them.
“The woman died instantly while her husband was left injured and unconscious. Their daughter escaped unhurt and she cried, alerting passersby,” Ganet said.
A passerby transported the husband and wife to Livunzu Health Centre where the former was treated.
The government wants to install lighting detectors to limit such accidents by sending alerts of possible lighting in a particular area.
Cases of lighting accidents are on the increase due to deforestation among other reasons. Some 13 people have been killed by lighting since December 2019.
Xinhua news agency quoted a UNDP report in May 2029 as having observed that Malawi’s annual death rate from lightning “is extremely high compared to other countries in the world”.
According to the report, the rate is 16 times higher than similar sub-regions in southern Africa and 50 times higher than that of the US.