Home | News    Sunday 17 July 2011

Ethiopia: Lightning Kills 25 amid extensive drought in East Africa

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

July 16, 2011 (MEKELLE, ETHIOPIA) – As rain shortages put some 4.5 million Ethiopians on the brink of hunger, lightning strikes over the past month have killed at least 25 people as heavy rains hit the country’s northern Tigray region.

The lightning strikes that hit different districts mainly in south west of the region has also injured four people and killed 34 farm animals, Tigray region police commission spokesperson, Micheale Kahsu told Sudan Tribune.

According to local communities, this is the highest death toll caused by lightning at Tembein district and fears are high that this figure could rise in the course of the rain season to end early in September.

Rains have become a cause of worry after the latest deadly lightning incidents, says Belay Hadgu, an agriculture extension worker.

"The communities mainly the farmers in this areas used to highly welcome every rain fall however it has lately become their moment of worry after many was strike dead by lightening" he said adding "people begin praying when heavy rains fall".

Also Tigray is the region worst hit, similar cases have also been reported from other parts of the country.

Lightning refers to one of the several forms of visible electrical discharge produced by thunderstorms. It is essentially a giant spark that jumps between vast pools of positive and negative electrical charge that form inside thunderstorms.

The primary forms of lightning discharges are cloud-to-ground (CG), cloud-to-cloud (CC), in-cloud (IC) and cloud-to-air (CA). Rare forms also include ball lightning. Lightning appears very bright because it is - its optical output is equivalent to some 100 million light bulbs going on and off.

(ST)

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