Friday 1 July 2011

Lightning strikes

Eighteen children and a teacher have been killed after lightning struck a school in the Masindi area of Uganda.     It is the second time the Runyanya Primary School has been hit.    In 2001, a lightning strike injured three people.

Across Uganda, another 12 people have been killed by lightning during the last week.   Meterologists say the reason for the strikes is a surge of moist air coming through the Congo Basin, but the government has also admitted that many buildings are not fitted with lightning conductors.

Perhaps the deadliest ever incident involving a lightning strike came in 1769 at Brescia in Italy, when the Church of St Nazaire was struck, setting fire to 100 tons of gunpowder stored in its vaults.    The resulting explosion is said to have destroyed a sixth of the city, and killed 3,000 people.

More recently, in November 1994, fuel tanks were struck at Dronka in central Egypt.     469 people died in the explosion that followed.

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