ACLENet - READY TO FACE THE LIGHTNING CHALLENGE
In July 2021, lightning related disasters were reported in headlines across the globe. To the east in India, 65 people were killed by lightning on a single day (July 11th, 2021)
in different parts of the northern states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. To the west along the US western coast, ‘hundreds of lightning strikes’ caused ‘dozens of fires’
in the states of California and Oregon. A vivid scene of an old tree estimated to be more than 200 years was captured on camera being split apart by lightning
and adding to a forest fire.
Although we have not received news of a Mass Causality Incident (MCI) in Africa in July, it is also not a rainy, storm-prone time of year, but we continue to note scattered fatalities and property damage due to lightning in the tropical areas.
The destructive power of lightning is ever present around the world
, and we need to shift our discussions from ‘whether there will be lightning’ to ‘what lightning will do, and how we can prevent deaths, injuries and property damage’.
LIGHTNING is the most common weather
THREAT TO LIFE
that people worldwide encounter, sometimes on a daily basis and often with little knowledge of what they can do to decrease their risk.
We need to shift the definition of 'disaster' to include lightning, not just hurricanes, tornadoes and other, often less frequent, weather threats. This is the discussion we need to hold with governments across Africa.
Lightning is a constant danger across Africa, and, because of widespread poverty, most communities are vulnerable. The messages and tools used in developed countries are often not applicable across Africa because of this vulnerability manifested by lightning unsafe homes, schools, and other structures and lack of public education in lightning safety.
ACLENet is readying itself to address the lightning challenge. Recently, a new Board of Directors
was inaugurated to strengthen leadership, fundraising, and management oversight. We are excited about this milestone and are hopeful of improved service delivery.