The government has announced intentions to mount a sensitization campaign on how the public can prevent itself from being struck by lightning.
This follows latest findings indicating that Rwanda was the only country in the whole world that is most prone to frequent lightning because of its geographical location.
Speaking to The New Times, the Minister of Education, Dr Charles Murigande said that, previously, the Cabinet had expressed concerns over the continued damage caused by lightning and requested all concerned ministries to look into the issue and come up with possible solutions.
“We established a team of highly experienced experts, whom, in the course of their work, came across a publication by the US-based National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) that revealed of high risk of thunderbolts in Rwanda,” said Murigande.
He added that it is from this survey that government intends to educate the public on how to prevent themselves from being stricken by lightning.
Murigande pointed out some of the risky moves that may cause a lightning strike including standing under trees during rain, touching metallic objects while it’s raining and using mobile phones among others.
“We want the public to know what lightning is and this will minimize harm. We also intend to collect historical data from where lightning has hit,” he said.
He added that part of the campaign will be sensitizing builders to have lightning conductors in their buildings.
A lightning conductor is a metal rod mounted on top of a building and electronically connected to the ground through a wire, to protect the building in the event of lightning.
If lightning strikes the building, it will preferentially strike the rod, and be conducted harmlessly to the ground through the wire, instead of passing through the building, where it could start a fire or cause electrocution.
According to scientists, lightning is one of the most beautiful displays in nature but also most deadly natural phenomena known to man.
Lightning can travel at speeds of 36,000 km/h and can reach temperatures approaching 30,000 °C hot enough to fuse silica sand into glass.
“Rwanda experiences a whopping 82.7 lightning flashes per square kilometre,” reads part of a NASA research.
With satellites, NASA discovered that more than 1.2 billion lightning flashes occur around the world every year.