NYABIHU - The National Meteorological Service (RMS) has issued precautionary measures to the public to help mitigate risks associated with lightening.
Speaking to The New Times yesterday, Didace Musoni, a Senior Meteorologist at RBC said that due to the rampant lightening strikes that occured recently, RMS deemed it necessary to alert the public.
Heavy downpours in Nyabihu District, Western Province, characterised by lightning struck one student dead, leaving 16 others critically injured last month.
The area has become one of the most heavily affected in the country.
"This area is prone to lightning because whenever it rains, we experience grave cases of this nature. We call upon the government to institute a team to study the causes and come up with a solution," said Abdul Latiff Twahirwa, the district Mayor.
The districts of Rubavu and Nyabihu experience heavy rains around this time of the year and the devastation they cause are mostly due to poor drainage systems.
Two months ago, in the same district, three students were struck dead by lightning while several others were admitted to hospitals.
“People inside a building during thunderstorms should unplug and switch off their television and radio sets, avoid standing at the entrance of the house and if there is a leak in the roof, they shouldn’t stand near it,” Musoni stated.
Musoni also called upon the public to avoid touching electrical conductors, and always avoid any connection with them, because lightening always seeks a quick and easy way to reach the ground.
“The public should be vigilant and consider the precautionary measures in order to prevent themselves from being stuck by lightening,” he noted.
He also advised that when members of the public are caught up by rain and seek for shelter outside buildings, they should avoid large open spaces where they are taller than anything else around them.
He further notified them to stay away from isolated objects such as trees and seek shelter in buildings fitted with a lightening conductor or a car but avoid touching doors.
Musoni advised cattle-keepers to move their animals down a valley when there are signs of rain.
“If you are in a boat or swimming in a lake, get to the shore immediately if a storm is approaching. Water is the most dangerous place to be in during thunderstorms,” he warned.
He pointed out that as a long-term pre-emptive measure; people should consider fitting a lightening conductor to their buildings - especially if it is the highest point in the area noting that this does not necessitate the services of an expert.