Lightning kills 5, destroys cane fields

13 January 2019

Five people died in Chipinge last Thursday after being struck by lightning at Lucky Chitima’s farm as heavy rains continue to claim lives in the district since the start of the rainfall season.

The deceased are three women and two children.

Eye witnesses confirmed that three women, two from Gumai communal areas and one from Chitima farm were struck by lightning together with their children around three on Thursday afternoon while cultivating fields at Chitima’s farm when the violent storms and lightning started.

Due to the rains, the now deceased went to a shack constructed to scare away monkeys as they sought refuge before the shelter was struck by lightning resulting in four lives being lost on the spot while the 5th casualty who is also a child, died upon arrival at Chipinge District Hospital.

A baby who sustained burns was still at the hospital by Friday morning while the bodies of the deceased have been taken to Chipinge mortuary.

The deceased’s family members who gave accounts of what transpired expressed shock following the unfortunate incident.

“We are shell shocked following the death of our relatives as a result of lightning. It is really unfortunate that lightning has killed a number of people in the district including our own relatives,” said one woman.

Elsewhere in the district, Emald Secondary School in the Mt Selinda area was affected by a strong hailstorm resulting in the school administration and a classroom block’s roofs being taken away and injuring five students in the process.

According to the secondary school’s head Jenifer Jubadeya and SDC Chairman Simon Dhliwayo, three students were taken to Mt Selinda Hospital after the unfortunate incident while two students sustained minor injuries.

“The school was unfortunate to be affected by a hailstorm that destroyed roofs and injured five students with three taken for treatment to Mt Selinda hospital after sustaining deep cuts,” said School Head Jubadeya.

A number of hailstorms have affected schools and houses since the start of the rainfall season in the district while a month ago about five people were struck to death by lightning on two separate occasions in the district.

Meanwhile, about 60 hectares of sugarcane fields in the Middle Sabi area have also been struck by lightning.

Green Fuels Middle Sabi Estate Manager Mr Rice Moyo revealed that this is the 3rd time their fields have been struck by lighting and 12 730 tonnes of cane have been lost.

Mr Rice said the cane destroyed is a huge loss to the company as they are in the off season servicing the ethanol mill plant, adding that irrigation implements, overhead sprinklers and aluminium pipes were also destroyed.