Burundi: Lightning and torrential rains kill several children

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Several school going children have been killed after lightning struck the provinces of Karuzi and Bubanza in Burundi. Torrential rains and lightning incidents have killed several people in the Eastern African country in the past few months.

According to reports from Burundi’s national radio, several people, including 12 school going children and a teacher, were killed and some seriously injured, when lightning struck two provinces on Wednesday, 16 February.

The affected provinces include the central region province of Karuzi, where most of the fatal cases were reported, and Bubanza province in the western region.

October last year, a lightning incident caused the death of an Anglican priest and three of his church members during mass in southern Burundi. A few days later, 3 people in the hills of Murambi and Kiganda (southern Burundi), died following another lightning incident which destroyed at least 37 homes.

According to observers, torrential rains and lightning have worsened living conditions for thousands of residents of informal settlements in the Eastern African country. They have often led to fatal incidents.

A few years ago, heavy rains cut the southern part of the country from Bujumbura, the capital, after landslides blocked major roads.

The small African country has often fallen prey to heavy downpours. In 2006, rains destroyed graves, unearthed buried corpses and polluted several water bodies. The country’s Environment Ministry, according to reports, had urged residents to refrain from drinking water from the Mpanda and Kajeke rivers as well as that of Lake Tanganyika.

In the month of October, 2010, alone more than 20 people died as a result of storms and rainfall in Burundi.

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