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Tragedy as lightning kills five children in Kakamega

By Alex Wakhisi | August 15th 2015

A sombre mood engulfed a village in Lugari, Kakamega County, following the death of five children struck by lightning.

The five were among seven children playing at St Luke Lumakanda Secondary School in playground in Tekoa village when lightning struck, killing them instantly on Thursday.

Lugari OCPD Benard Macharia said one child who survived the calamity was rushed to Lumakanda Hospital and later referred to Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) in Eldoret.

“Seven children were playing when it started raining. They took shelter under a tree that was struck by lightning, killing five of them on the spot. One survivor is admitted at MTRH. Another did not incur any injuries as he had gone to collect the ball in the rain,” said Macharia.

Franklin Shoso, a class four pupil, escaped the ordeal narrowly. He had gone to collect the ball they were playing with when calamity struck. A shocked Shosho expressed his sorrow for losing his friends.

He told The Standard on Saturday that they were playing when it started drizzling. The rain soon turned into a heavy down pour, forcing them to seek shelter under a tree.

Shosho said lightning struck twice, killing five of his friends and leaving another in critical condition.

“When it started raining my friends climbed a tree for shelter. I rushed to collect the ball when lightning struck twice. Five of my friends who were on the tree were killed on the spot. Only the one who was sheltering under the tree survived,” said the 11-year-old boy.

Sorrow and gloom

Shosho said he is lucky to be alive. “It is painful to lose all my friends at once. When lightning struck I went down flat on my belly. When I realised my friends had been struck and were not moving, I rushed to call neighbours,” he said.

Edmond Inzai lost two children, aged 13 and 10, in the unfortunate incident.

“I was informed by a neighbour that my children had been struck by lightning. I rushed to the scene. At first, I saw the body of one child but later realised I had lost two. It is very painful,” said the distraught Inzai.

“They loved playing football,” he said.

Sorrow and gloom had engulfed the homestead of Rose Muonja whose 13-year-old son Prayful Locho was killed. “My child was very active at school and at home. He loves going to church, that is why he is called Prayful. But luck was not on his side. He is gone,” said a tearful Muonja.

Kakamega County Education Executive Ebby Kavai said the county government will partner with the national government to install lightning arrestors in schools to evade such disasters.

“This area is lightning prone because of heavy rainfall. We will install lightning arrestors in schools to safeguard our children.

We will also implement disaster strategies to combat such incidents. The county government will support the affected families,” said Ms Kavai.

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