The Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services (Met) has tipped the public on precautionary measures following reports of people being struck by lightning since the onset of rains early this month.
Met director Jolamu Nkhokwe on Thursday urged the public to be cautious whenever they notice an approaching thunderstorm by keeping indoors and avoiding hiding under trees.
He said thunders and lightning usually occur during the onset of the rainy season due to prolonged heating from the sun on the lower levels of the atmosphere.
Said Nkhokwe: “If they are taken unawares, it is good to squat somewhere far from a tree to avoid such accidents.”
According to National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera, four people have, so far, been killed by lightning since the rains started.
Speaking in an interview last week, Kadadzera said two children aged seven and 12, respectively were killed by lightning in Thyolo on Wednesday while a 14-year-old boy also died last week after being struck by lightning in Nkhata Bay.
“In Dedza, a 25-year-old man died after being struck by lightning on November 19,” he added.
Commenting on the incident, Dedza Police Station assistant spokesperson Cassim Manda identified the deceased as Numeyere Kamtande of Dambo Village in Traditional Authority Kaphuka in the district.
He said the deceased and other people from the village were digging a grave when it suddenly started raining.
“The rains were accompanied by thunder and lightning and Kamtande and those he was working with hid under a tree right in the graveyard. Few minutes later, lightning struck him and he died on the spot,” said Manda.
Meanwhile, in Blantyre five people are nursing wounds after being struck by lightning at the entrance to St Pius Catholic Church last week.
“Among them are two women who work as cleaners at the parish. They are admitted to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital where they are being treated for burns,” said a church elder who did not want to be named.