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True Story: I Survived The Heaviest Lightning Strike

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medical geneva;”>Jesca Atuhura, 19, narrated to our chimp corp the tragedy experience she went through in July 2010 when several of her friends and colleagues lost their lives due to a heavy lightning that struck Runyanya Primary School in Nyabiiso Village in Kiryandongo district.


“It was around 3:00pm after our first evening lesson when it started raining and later escalated into heavy down pour with hail stones and several lightning and thunder. It lasted for about two hours,” said Atuhura.


“I was in my senior one by then at Kibanda Secondary School Kiryandongo and Runyanya Primary School was just a walk able distance from our school. I stood in the door way of our class room as I watched other students shout and make noise as it rained. When I had just sat done on my chair, a strong lightning struck and everyone in the class room went silent.


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I nearly urinated in my pants and was panting heavily because I had never witnessed such a sharp lightening ever in my life.


After the heavy rain, we all walked back home but when we reached Nyabiiso village, we noticed everything was silent, on reaching the trading centre, people were all running to Runyanya Primary School and at this time we were told that several pupils have been struck by lightning.


Atuhura said at that point in time, she thanked God for making her survive that lightning that had occurred while still at school which she believes is the one that killed the pupils of Runyanya primary school.


“All village members were shouting, crying, rushing to the primary school. Several buildings had been burnt down by the lightning, 3-4 buildings were broken down, all the timber and iron sheets were burnt,” narrates Atuhura.


She told our corp that with a population of over 300 pupils, close to 70 pupils claimed to have lost their lives on that day and three class room teachers were reported dead on spot. All the dead bodies were rushed to Kiryandongo hospital while those surviving injuries were taken to Masindi hospital.


“Lightning is just like electricity, it sucks water and blood from the body. Those pupils were burnt and their skins had turned black. Some pupils were found dead while seated on benches while others were struck by the falling debris and timber,” said Atuhura.


Almost every family in Nyabiiso village lost a child while some lost three to four children.


Atuhura said that the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness and an NGO swung in and helped to comfort different families in the village and vowed to offer help during the burial ceremony. Then the next day, the ministry gave all families that had lost their beloved ones shs 500,000, a 50Kg sack of Posho and of Rice and a bull to be used in the burial preparations.


She said that up to date, this day is still commemorated in the whole district and once it is due, different schools, pupils and students match towards Runyanya Primary School carrying different scholastic materials including books, pencils, pens, rulers, bags and sets.

What is lightning?


Lightning is a massive electrostatic discharge between electrically charged regions within clouds, or between a cloud and the Earth’s surface. The charged regions within the atmosphere temporarily equalize themselves through a lightning flash, commonly referred to as a strike if it hits an object on the ground.


Although lightning is always accompanied by the sound of thunder, distant lightning may be seen but be too far away for the thunder to be heard. Lightning occurs approximately 40–50 times a second worldwide, resulting in nearly 1.4 billion flashes per year.


Lightning primarily occurs when warm air is mixed with colder air masses resulting in atmospheric disturbances necessary for polarizing the atmosphere. However, it can also occur during dust storms, forest fires, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, and even in the cold of winter, where the lightning is known as thunder snow. Hurricanes typically generate some lightning, mainly in the rain bands as much as 160 km (100 mi) from the center.

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