Five people were killed by lightning and eight others injured yesterday during an afternoon worship service at Pentecostal Holiness Association Church at Kayerekera Trading Centre in Karonga.
Karonga deputy police spokesperson Frank Black said in an interview yesterday that all the five that died are women.
Mbande Area Development Committee chairperson Fwasani Silungwe said his committee reported the matter to the District Civil Protection Committee and Karonga Police who rushed to the scene, over 50 kilometres away from Karonga Boma.
On his part, Kayerekera Hospital in-charge Blessings Fweta said most of the affected reported to the facility with minor injuries and were treated as outpatients.
Malawi continues to experience a spate of lightning bolts which have killed a number of people mostly during rainy season.
Department of Disaster Management Affairs spokesperson Chipiliro Khamula in an interview said at least 38 people have been killed by lightning since the onset of the 2020/21 rainy season.
He said: “We call upon the general public to follow daily weather updates from the Meteorological Department to be aware of any possible weather-related hazard ,and take necessary precautions.”
The Karonga incident comes barely a week after lightning killed four people and injured three others at Kasimu Trading Centre in Mangochi District.
In 2018, executive dean for the Ndata School of Climate Change and Earth Sciences at the Malawi University of Science and Technology, associate professor Leonard Kalindekafe said a study had found that Malawi is ranked number five among countries where lightning has killed many people.
Weather experts at the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services told The Nation that lightning is the occurrence of a natural electrical discharge of very short duration and high voltage between a cloud and the ground or within a cloud, accompanied by a bright flash and usually thunder.
Lightning is destructive and kills due to the increase in electrical charge targeting a human or a tree, or anything with a height as a conductor. This is so because of their higher potential for electrons.