Friday, December 31, 2010

Lightning strikes 22, couple dies

A victim of the lightning receiving treatment at Hoima Hospital

A man and his wife died and 20 others were admitted to Hoima Hospital and Kabalega Medical Centre (About 1 Hr from Kampala the Capital of Uganda) after being struck by lightning.

Simon Irumba died instantly when lightning struck during the burial of his father-in-law, Tamiteo Isingoma, at Muhwiju in Bugambe sub-county, Hoima district on Wednesday evening.

Irumba died in his seat as his wife Kelvin Nyangoma was serving him a drink. Nyangoma also fell down and lost consciousness.

Allan Alinaitwe, a witness, said several mourners lost consciousness after they were hit.

�Many people who were seated and standing near Irumba when his wife fell down. We ran for our lives thinking they were all dead. Most were lying still, while others were groaning,� he said.

The victims were rushed to Hoima hospital and Kabalega medical centre in Hoima town.

Nyangoma died on arrival at Hoima Hospital.

Scores of people from Hoima town and neighbouring areas crowded the hospital to find out if their relatives had been involved in the incident.

When New Vision visited the hospital, most of the victims were lying on the floor in the casualty wing, where they were being treated. Some of them were given first aid and discharged.

Those still admitted at Hoima Hospital are Francis Mbabazi, 30, Dan Tugume, 27, Josephine Tibenda, Annet Kabadaki, Florence Tibuliba and Timbigamba, 32. Bridget Kemigisa and Bosco Tugume are admitted at Kabalega medical centre.

The victims sustained serious burns and complained of severe pain. Tugume recalled that he was seated in a tent when the incident occurred.

�I was seated in a tent when lightning struck. I saw a lot of light and that is all I can remember,� he said.

�I have just found myself in the hospital this morning but I don�t know how I came here. I feel a lot of pain and I can see burns on my body,� Tugume added.

An old woman who witnessed the incident attributed the lighting to the devil.

�This is the work of devil and I have never seen it in my life time. You cannot go to bury your father-in-law and get struck by lightning and you die,� she said.

The LC1 chairman for Muhwiju village, Eric Bendebule, said the incident was the first of its kind in the area and had shocked many residents.

�It is a big surprise and it has shaken the whole village. I am an old man but have never seen this happen in my area,� he said.

Costance Aseru, a nursing officer at Hoima Hospital, said most of those affected had been given first aid treatment and discharged.

She added that the victims sustained burns, while others had recovered from shock.

�We have put all of them on treatment and they are out of danger. I hope they will be fine and we shall discharge them soon,� she said.

Irumba and his wife Nyangoma will be buried at Kitoma village in Busiisi division in Hoima.

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