About 20 people have been killed by lightning strikes across Rwanda this month alone, 15 of them having been struck in one incident during mass at a Seventh Day Adventist church in Nyaruguru District, Southern Province over a fortnight ago.
Rwanda is prone to different types of natural disasters, including lightening strikes, which are common in high altitude regions of southwest.
The possibility of lightning fatalities has increased following a recent spike in torrential rains, which could also trigger other disasters, including landslides and floods.
With the weather forecasters predicting that the current rainy season is likely to go on until early June, it’s imperative that authorities and other actors, including ordinary citizens, step up levels of preparedness to prevent fatalities.
For years now, the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness and Refugee Affairs has been urging people to install lightning conductors at public buildings, and to relocate from high-risky zones.
Nonetheless, little has been done as far as enforcement is concerned even as deaths from such disasters continue to occur from time to time.
While we may not be in position to prevent natural disasters from happening, it is within our means to lessen their impacts and avoid fatalities. All we need to do is get prepared adequately and not ignore the alerts and advice from the experts and authorities.
It is important that, given the increasingly unpredictable nature of weather conditions, we are always prepared for Mother Nature’s wrath.
Needless to say, both central government and local authorities are pivotal to any efforts to avert dire consequences of natural disasters and all necessary measures must be taken to save lives and property.