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28 June 2021, International Lightning Safety Day (ILSD) 2021 marks the tenth anniversary of the Runyanya Disaster where 18 children were killed and 38 hospitalized from one lightning strike to their school in 2011. This disaster catalyzed the formation of ACLENet.
Next month we will have reports on plans different lightning safety advocacy programs around the world have to mark this sad anniversary.
Newsletter Content:
Lead Story, Editors' Note 
'Tell your story'
Lightning Folklore
Lightning events reported for April

Video: Pillars of Lightning Protection Webinar
Nord-Kivu: Five dead by lightning at Rutshuru in Republic of Congo

Five people were killed and another seriously injured by lightning incident at about 12:00 p.m. local time during a torrential downpour on Saturday, April 3, in the village of Mabuye, about 3 km south of the town of Bunagana, in the Rutshuru territory in the Republic of Congo.
Three women, two children and a man were surprised by bursts of lightning as they were collecting cassava in their field. The sixth victim, a woman who was seriously injured, was evacuated to Rutshuru-Centre for medical care.
Read more

The incident mentioned in the Lead Story this month reminds us of the high risk posed by open air activities in agriculture, roadside markets, ceremonies, and other activities. Five people were killed by a single lightning strike while harvesting cassava from their garden. A sixth was taken to a hospital with serious injuries according to a post from civil society workers in North Kivu province of DRC.

Most economic activity in sub-Saharan Africa is conducted in the open-air which is always dangerous when thunderstorms are in the area. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is one of the epicenters for lightning hazards because it has the highest lightning flash density (amount of lightning strikes per square kilometer per year) in Africa. 
The twin factors of open air activity and high lightning flash density need to be well understood by policy makers for effective public safety response and messaging. 
Unfortunately, public education messages like ‘When thunder roars, go indoors,’ which have been proven effective in North America, are unlikely to work in Africa because there are no safe structures to 'go' to, particularly in rural areas.
The most widely respected and utilized international standard of lightning protection is from the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC 62305). Unfortunately, most African nations have not embraced IEC standardization. Even those who have adopted it may not enforce compliance with these standards.

At ACLENet, our all volunteer Lightning Protection Working Group has five members who serve on IEC working groups. We hope the challenges they have seen in protecting schools in Uganda will foster inclusion of solutions in the IEC standards as they are continuously improved and revised. Perhaps when standards address more of the issues faced in sub-Saharan Africa, more countries will adopt and enforce it. 
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FOCUS: Manuela 
is a Citizen Reporter for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), but she is far more than that. Born in Austria, she founded the small NGO "Zukunft für Tshumbe" ("Future for Tshumbe") when she was 20, starting with a kindergarten for orphans and vulnerable children in the region.
Eight years later, she says, 'At the moment we run a kindergarten, a primary school, a health center, a feeding program for malnourished children, a farming project, several workshops such as woodwork, sewing, weaving, etc. Our NGO employs 70 local people from Tshumbe, who now have the possibility to survive and look after their families. 285 children are in our kindergarten and primary school and about 400 people receive food from us every day.'
So much in only 8 years!
Their website is:
On Witchcraft and Lightning (South Africa)

Some trek to sangomas (respected healers of the Zulu people), others find refuge in churches because the fear of witchcraft-induced lightning is so deep in Lesotho that many people feel they must seek divine intervention for protection. They believe that witches can deploy lightning to kill people or the livestock of people they target.

Some believe muti (traditional medicine) is the only antidote to lightning sent by witches, while others believe that churches should be engaged for divine intervention. At Sangomas they receive muti, although there is no tangible evidence of anyone being saved through such interventions. Many families often depend on the clergy to pray or give them amulets to fend off witches.

A number of the members of the Basotho Reformed Church interviewed by David Semenya in 2007, as reported in Verbum et Ecclesia, believed that God would punish those engaging themselves in witchcraft practices.
Read more

African Lightning Events for April
Nord-Kivu : 5 dead by lightning at Rutshuru Republic of Congo
3 April 2021
Read more
Two struck dead by lightning, two lynched for theft in Kakamega Kenya
9 April 2021
Read more
Rukungiri Church Goers Killed by Lightning

11 April 2021
Read more
Lightning Strikes Satara Camp in Kruger, Fire Destroys Chalet
South Africa

23 April 2021
Read more
Brothers of Bayelsa boy killed by lightning still see him in their dreams –Sister

24 April 2021
Read more
Dschang: Lightning kills a student

24 April 2021
Read more
Man and Sheep Killed in Kabaya Village

30 April 2021
Read more

Pillars of lightning protection webinar 4-16-2020

For video of lightning across Africa,
Click to read past Newsletters
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