As the rainy season sets in, officials have called on the public to beware of lightning and take extra safety precautions.
In the last two weeks only, lightning has claimed 18 people in different parts of the country.
In Rurembo Sector of Nyabihu District, lighting struck and killed a mother and her two children at their home on October 10, while a day earlier in Nyarubuye Sector of Kirehe District, four people were pronounced dead following a lightning strike, as well as two children in Karongi District.
Other lightning strikes leading to death were reported in Gatsibo, Nyamagabe, Ngororero, Gakenke and Nyamasheke districts.
Among the measures taken by the government to prevent disaster caused by lightning is the regulation that all buildings should have lightning rods.
“People should avoid touching or using equipment that can transmit electricity, such as an umbrella with a pointed metal on top in the event that such equipment are on a higher level than the height of the person carrying them,” said Phillip Habinshuti, the director for Response and Recovery in the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees (MIDMAR).
“What is uniform about the victims of lightning is that they are struck while riding bicycles, standing under trees when it’s raining, grazing cows or farming on steep slopes, and swimming during rain, among others,” Habinshuti said.
Police Spokesman Theos Badege said that incidents of lightning leading to death can be avoided.
“A single live lost in such avoidable circumstances is regrettable. People should be cautious and take preventive measures when faced with such situations,” he said.
He appealed to the public to implement all safety procedures given by authorities such as fitting lightning arrestors to stop or minimize accidents
“Property owners must ensure lightning arresters are fitted in all critical facilities and public building such as places of worship and schools,” Badege said.