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Lead Story, Editors' Note 
'Tell your story'
Lightning Myths and Folklore - Shango,
legendary thunder god

Lightning events reported for September
Video: International Lightning Safety Day 2020
Five people killed by Lightning in Alebtong, Uganda
 At least five family members were killed by lightning when it struck a grass thatched house setting the thatch on fire while the family was sleeping.
Of the six people in the house at the time, four were killed including the mother and three children. Additionally, the grandfather suffered burns so severe when he tried to rescue them that he died on the way to the hospital. Two children and the father, who was away working at the time, survived. This occurred in the northern Ugandan district of Alebtong.
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Earlier this month, September 2021, the Monitor newspaper published an article on lightning safety by Esther Oluka which touched on different aspects of the lightning hazard and quoted several professionals in the promotion of lightning safety. This pioneering article went beyond the usual outcry for action by local media after specific lightning incidents and should be applauded as valuable public education aimed at injury prevention instead of disaster response. 
It is a big step in the right direction.

The lightning hazard permeates communities across sub-Saharan Africa. While every lightning injury and death is a tragedy to that person's family, in much of Africa, entire families can be killed by one strike. Unfortunately, September has brought us several reports of family tragedies:
In Uganda, five people belonging to the same family died from a lightning strike in early September.
In Angola’s Bié province, five people, including four from the same family, were killed by lightning according to the local civil protection and fire service.
In Tanzania, four people, a couple and their two children, were killed by lightning as they slept.

As this column has discussed before, these tragedies can be fuel for multiple conspiracy theories, most of which increase the risk of lightning injury because of fanning beliefs lacking in scientific knowledge -- If people believe that lightning deaths are inevitable and beyond their control, any move to educate and change behavior to prevent injuries can be seen as futile.
We need to change this!

It is very difficult to comfort or teach people who are in the midst of grief for the their lost dear ones. After such incidents, survivors can quickly yield to traditional beliefs because of lack of knowledge and solutions on how to prevent the tragedies that befell them.

At ACLENet, we believe that reliable, practical public safety education should come before lightning strikes instead of after deaths and family tragedies have occurred. Leaders at all levels who are concerned with Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) should take up the responsibility of educating the general public on lightning safety and injury prevention.

We are finalizing a Memorandum of Understanding with Government of Uganda (GoU), after many hiccups, and hope to influence the Ministry and Departments responsible for DRR to concentrate on prevention and preparedness instead of only response. We look forward to working with many professionals in Uganda and the media to bring about this public education.

Together, we can work to reduce the number of deaths, injuries, and property damage due to lightning across Africa.
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Mary Kobusingye, SESEMAT, Mbarara region, Uganda, for sending us TV screen shots of further news coverage about the Uganda family killed by lightning on 1 September.
The legendary THUNDER god of the ancient kingdom of Oyo (Nigeria)
One of the popular legends about lightning and thunder known worldwide is that of Shango,
the son of Yemaja and the mother goddess. Magic, thunder and lightning characterize his reign. 
Folklore has it that in one of Shango’s angry moments he caused thunder to come down to burn some of his children and wives. In regret, he left his palace and hanged himself.
After his death his enemies decided to attack, but, before they could reach the palace, strong lightning struck and killed them all, an event that many attributed to Shango, despite his death.
From that day, he was honored as a god.
Read more
African Lightning Events Reported in September
Lightning kills 5 family members in Omoro sub-county Alebtong

1 September 2021
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Woman and animals killed by lightning

Reported by Frank Shumbusho
1 September 2021
Read more
Lightning, floods kill nine in North East region

3 September 2021
Read more
Two killed by lightning in KwaZulu-Natal
South Africa

6  September 2021
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Lightning kills a man in Touba

11  September 2021
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4 children killed by lightning in Djielane, 8 others injured
18 September 2021
Read more
Electrical discharges leave five dead
(Two separate incidents reported)
18 September 2021
Read more
Electrical discharges leave five dead

21 September 2021
Read more
Here’s how to keep safe from lightning

22 September 2021
Read more
Lightning strike kills four from same family in
Reported by Gilbert Mwangi, Citizen Reporter
24 September 2021
Read more
School head teacher, 2 others killed by lightning
25 September 2021
Read more
Lightning kills five in Rubanda, Kanungu
27 September 2021
Read more
Paper, presented at the American Meteorological Society 2021, International Lightning Safety Day, Shriram Sharma, MACooper, Chandima Gomes.
Click here for an interactive WORLD MAP of LIGHTNING
If you keep moving into the US map, you can get down to the state/county level of lightning for the contiguous 48 states
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