19 die as light­ning hits school in Uganda

Shanghai Daily - - WORLD -

A LIGHT­NING strike has killed 18 chil­dren and their teacher in Uganda, po­lice said.

Uganda has one of the high­est rates of light­ning strike deaths in the world and its cap­i­tal Kam­pala has more days of light­ning per year than any other city, ac­cord­ing to the World Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Or­ga­ni­za­tion.

The light­ning hit the vic­tims in a class­room at a school in Kiryan­dongo, 210 kilo­me­ters north of Kam­pala, po­lice said. An­other 38 chil­dren were ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal.

The East African coun­try has suf­fered a wave of fa­tal light­ning strikes in re­cent weeks dur­ing un­sea­son­ably heavy rains.

The deaths were de­bated in par­lia­ment on Mon­day, with MPs call­ing on the govern­ment to come up with strat­egy to deal with what sev­eral termed “a cri­sis.”

“I don’t know which min­is­ter is in charge of the light­ning but let the govern­ment come up with a state­ment to in­form the coun­try on what is go­ing on and how we can man­age it,” Speaker Re­becca Kadaga said.

Lo­cal me­te­o­rol­o­gists have crit­i­cized the govern­ment for not pro­vid­ing enough light­ning con­duc­tors for build­ings in storm hotspots.

“The 19 were killed in sin­gle light­ning strike on Mon­day,” a po­lice spokesman said. “They were ready to leave school but there was a heavy down­pour and so they shel­tered in the class­room and then, all of a sud­den, it struck.”

Po­lice said 15 of the 38 in­jured on Mon­day were still in hos­pi­tal be­ing treated for burns. The state-owned New Vi­sion news­pa­per said on Tues­day that at least 40 peo­ple had been killed by light­ning strikes in re­cent weeks.

Welling­ton Zoo res­i­dent vet Dr Baukje Lent­ing ( left) and Dr Lisa Argilla, man­ager of vet­eri­nary sci­ence, care for an Antarc­tic pen­guin yes­ter­day that stranded on a New Zealand beach. It may be months be­fore the young em­peror pen­guin fully re­cov­ers and of­fi­cials pro­pose tak­ing the bird part of the way back to its Antarc­tic home. — AP

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