Kiryandongo Lightning Tragedy in Pictures

I will begin in a very odd way of starting a story by defining what 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 typically also thunder”

Schoolchildren who survived after lightning struck their classroom, receive treatment at Kiryandongo hospital, 210 km (130 miles) north of Uganda's capital Kampala, June 29, 2011. The lightning strike killed 18 children and their teacher in Uganda, police said. Uganda has one of the highest rates of lightning strike deaths in the world and its capital Kampala has more days of lightning per year than any other city, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Schoolchildren who survived after lightning struck their classroom, receive treatment at Kiryandongo hospital, 210 km (130 miles) north of Uganda's capital Kampala, June 29, 2011. The lightning strike killed 18 children and their. Uganda has one of the highest rates of lightning strike deaths in the world and its capital Kampala has more days of lightning per year than any other city, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Getting to know its definition will probably open up your mind to visibly compare with the images of the Kiryandongo lightning that left 19 school pupils of Runyanya Church of Uganda primary school lifeless with hundreds injured.

“Natural electrical discharge of very short duration….” Sets the scene very plainly. Except a slight compression of Runyanya rooftop, the school looks to be in good shape. Actually, it’s unbelievable that such a slight compression would kill a life. Asaba, a pupil testified to this.

“I saw my friend Mable she could not wake up. I called her name that ‘Marble Marble wake up’ but she was not responding. I went and told the teachers they came and carried her to the office. For me I felt weak and cold,” Asaba, who is bed ridden at Kiryandongo hospital, recalls.

At the Kiryandongo Hospital morgue, the little girls and boys were clean, lying still in their uniforms. Still, you would have to look so hard and close to pick out any sign of a lightning hit was such an emotional scene for anyone.

A colleague called it “an enemy.” She tries to defend her claims.

“Look, this thing comes like a snake; hits you hard within seconds and swirls back into the skies and no one can follow it or wage a war against it. It’s not accountable to anyone. What do you call that?”

Families came in numbers, some delighted to have had their own bloods, survive with minor injuries, and some, speechless, sorrowful but helpless.

Those are hard moments to photograph. Balancing your own emotions and not getting overly excited at capturing the gruesome images.

As I was writing this down, a tweeter alert popped on my screen. It was another lightning strike in Nigeria which left 11 dead.

Note: I decided to omit some really cruel pictures to look at.

Relatives transport the remains of children wrapped in papyrus mats for burial, on a pick-up truck from a local morgue, in Kiryandongo, 210 km (130 miles) north of Uganda's capital Kampala, June 29, 2011. A lightning strike killed 18 children and their. Uganda has one of the highest rates of lightning strike deaths in the world and its capital Kampala has more days of lightning per year than any other city, according to the World Meteorological Organization

Relatives transport the remains of children wrapped in papyrus mats for burial, on a pick-up truck from a local morgue, in Kiryandongo, 210 km (130 miles) north of Uganda's capital Kampala, June 29, 2011. A lightning strike killed 18 children and their. Uganda has one of the highest rates of lightning strike deaths in the world and its capital Kampala has more days of lightning per year than any other city, according to the World Meteorological Organization

A pupil, who survived after lightning struck their classroom, receives treatment at Kiryandongo hospital, 210 km (130 miles) north of Uganda's capital Kampala, June 29, 2011. The lightning strike killed 18 children and their teacher. Uganda has one of the highest rates of lightning strike deaths in the world and its capital Kampala has more days of lightning per year than any other city, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

A pupil, who survived after lightning struck their classroom, receives treatment at Kiryandongo hospital, 210 km (130 miles) north of Uganda's capital Kampala, June 29, 2011. The lightning strike killed 18 children and their teacher. Uganda has one of the highest rates of lightning strike deaths in the world and its capital Kampala has more days of lightning per year than any other city, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

INCONSOLABLE: A mother who lost a daughter waits to take her remains from Kiryandongo Hospital morgue 210 km (130 miles) north of Uganda's capital Kampala, June 29, 2011. The lightning strike killed 18 children and their teacher. Uganda has one of the highest rates of lightning strike deaths in the world and its capital Kampala has more days of lightning per year than any other city, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

INCONSOLABLE: A mother who lost a daughter waits to take her remains from Kiryandongo Hospital morgue 210 km (130 miles) north of Uganda's capital Kampala, June 29, 2011. The lightning strike killed 18 children and their teacher. Uganda has one of the highest rates of lightning strike deaths in the world and its capital Kampala has more days of lightning per year than any other city, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Schoolchildren who survived after lightning struck their classroom, receive treatment at Kiryandongo hospital, 210 km (130 miles) north of Uganda's capital Kampala, June 29, 2011. The lightning strike killed 18 children and their teacher in Kiryandongo, Uganda. The East African Country has one of the highest rates of lightning strike deaths in the world and its capital Kampala has more days of lightning per year than any other city, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Schoolchildren who survived after lightning struck their classroom, receive treatment at Kiryandongo hospital, 210 km (130 miles) north of Uganda's capital Kampala, June 29, 2011. The lightning strike killed 18 children and their teacher in Kiryandongo, Uganda. The East African Country has one of the highest rates of lightning strike deaths in the world and its capital Kampala has more days of lightning per year than any other city, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Schoolchildren who survived after lightning struck their classroom, receive treatment at Kiryandongo hospital, 210 km (130 miles) north of Uganda's capital Kampala, June 29, 2011. The lightning strike killed 18 children and their teacher in Uganda, police said. Uganda has one of the highest rates of lightning strike deaths in the world and its capital Kampala has more days of lightning per year than any other city, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Schoolchildren who survived after lightning struck their classroom, receive treatment at Kiryandongo hospital, 210 km (130 miles) north of Uganda's capital Kampala, June 29, 2011. The lightning strike killed 18 children and their teacher in Kiryandongo, Uganda. Uganda has one of the highest rates of lightning strike deaths in the world and its capital Kampala has more days of lightning per year than any other city, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Schoolchildren who survived after lightning struck their classroom wait to receive treatment at Kiryandongo hospital, 210 km (130 miles) north of Uganda's capital Kampala, June 29, 2011. A lightning strike has killed 18 children and their teacher in Uganda, police said. Uganda has one of the highest rates of lightning strike deaths in the world and its capital Kampala has more days of lightning per year than any other city, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Schoolchildren who survived after lightning struck their classroom wait to receive treatment at Kiryandongo hospital, 210 km (130 miles) north of Uganda's capital Kampala, June 29, 2011. A lightning strike killed 18 children and their teacher in Kiryandongo, Uganda. The East African country has one of the highest rates of lightning strike deaths in the world and its capital Kampala has more days of lightning per year than any other city, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

A pupil who survived after lightning struck their classroom receives treatment at Kiryandongo hospital, 210 km (130 miles) north of Uganda's capital Kampala, June 29, 2011. A lightning strike has killed 18 children and their teacher in Uganda, police said. Uganda has one of the highest rates of lightning strike deaths in the world and its capital Kampala has more days of lightning per year than any other city, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

A pupil who survived after lightning struck their classroom receives treatment at Kiryandongo hospital, 210 km (130 miles) north of Uganda's capital Kampala, June 29, 2011. A lightning strike killed 18 children and their teacher in Uganda. The East African Country has one of the highest rates of lightning strike deaths in the world and its capital Kampala has more days of lightning per year than any other city, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Hundreds of people who were denied entry to Kiryandongo hospital followed the proceedings from the wire mesh hospital fence. A lightning strike killed 18 children and their teacher in Uganda. The East African country has one of the highest rates of lightning strike deaths in the world and its capital Kampala has more days of lightning per year than any other city, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Hundreds of people who were denied entry to Kiryandongo hospital followed the proceedings from the wire mesh hospital fence. A lightning strike killed 18 children and their teacher in Kiryandongo, Uganda. The East African country has one of the highest rates of lightning strike deaths in the world and its capital Kampala has more days of lightning per year than any other city, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

One of 18 pupils killed by a lightning bolt is seen at Kiryandongo hospital morgue,  210 km (130 miles) north of Uganda's capital Kampala, June 29, 2011. A lightning strike has killed 18 children and their teacher in Uganda. The East African country one of the highest rates of lightning strike deaths in the world and its capital Kampala has more days of lightning per year than any other city, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

One of 18 pupils killed by a lightning bolt is seen at Kiryandongo hospital morgue, 210 km (130 miles) north of Uganda's capital Kampala, June 29, 2011. A lightning strike has killed 18 children and their teacher in Uganda. The East African country one of the highest rates of lightning strike deaths in the world and its capital Kampala has more days of lightning per year than any other city, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Papyrus mats were used to pack the bodies of the diseased pupils. A lightning strike killed 18 children and their teacher in Uganda. The East African country one of the highest rates of lightning strike deaths in the world and its capital Kampala has more days of lightning per year than any other city, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Papyrus mats were used to pack the bodies of the diseased pupils. A lightning strike killed 18 children and their teacher in Uganda. The East African country one of the highest rates of lightning strike deaths in the world and its capital Kampala has more days of lightning per year than any other city, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

The sun pierces through a hole on the roof of one of the classrooms hit by a lightning bolt. Its believed, the hole was created as the lightning retreated back into the skies. The strike killed 18 children and their teacher in Kiryandongo, Uganda. The East African country one of the highest rates of lightning strike deaths in the world and its capital Kampala has more days of lightning per year than any other city, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

The sun pierces through a hole on the roof of one of the classrooms hit by a lightning bolt. Its believed, the hole was created as the lightning retreated back into the skies. The strike killed 18 children and their teacher in Kiryandongo, Uganda. The East African country one of the highest rates of lightning strike deaths in the world and its capital Kampala has more days of lightning per year than any other city, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

For primary six class, 67, the total present that fateful Tuesday will unfortunately read much less from now on. The classroom, ghostly, it might be to some of them. The strike killed 18 children and their teacher in Kiryandongo, Uganda. The East African country one of the highest rates of lightning strike deaths in the world and its capital Kampala has more days of lightning per year than any other city, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

For primary six class, 67, the total present that fateful Tuesday will unfortunately read much less from now on. The classroom, ghostly, it might be to some of them. The strike killed 18 children and their teacher in Kiryandongo, Uganda. The East African country one of the highest rates of lightning strike deaths in the world and its capital Kampala has more days of lightning per year than any other city, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Second Chance: Tunyefunza Wilson who survived the strike got himself a lifeline to continue with the excellent performance he had so far recorded. He scored 370 of the total 400 marks to get promotion to primary two as the second best performer of 130 pupils.

Second Chance: Tunyefunza Wilson who survived the strike got himself a lifeline to continue with the excellent performance he had so far recorded. He scored 370 of the total 400 marks to get promotion to primary two as the second best performer of 130 pupils.

14 thoughts on “Kiryandongo Lightning Tragedy in Pictures

  1. Its very sad that we have lost the young and promising Ugandans but this reminds us that the enemy is fighting daily and he keeps changing trick, the Bible reminds us that he has come to us with fury. Rev 12:11-12
    11 They overcame him
    by the blood of the Lamb
    and by the word of their testimony;
    they did not love their lives so much
    as to shrink from death.
    12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens
    and you who dwell in them!
    But woe to the earth and the sea,
    because the devil has gone down to you!
    He is filled with fury,
    because he knows that his time is short.”
    NIV

    • Its very sad that we have lost the young and promising Ugandans but this reminds us that the enemy is fighting daily and he keeps changing tricks, the Bible reminds us that he has come to us with fury. Rev 12:11-12
      11 They overcame him
      by the blood of the Lamb
      and by the word of their testimony;
      they did not love their lives so much
      as to shrink from death.
      12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens
      and you who dwell in them!
      But woe to the earth and the sea,
      because the devil has gone down to you!
      He is filled with fury,
      because he knows that his time is short.”
      NIV

  2. Edward, am impressed with ur pictures but disappointed with where u get the information that a student teacher also died. Its not correct that a student teacher died. The 19th person is a student of Kibanda SS who had gone to church to learn in preparation for confirmation

  3. Very sad indeed. Lesson to learn from this tragedy is that lightning does not strike schools alone so we should all take preventative measures wherever we are. Of course not forgetting to pray for God’s mercy.
    Festo

  4. I personally interacted with this sad moment, assisting the hospital admin to handle referal cases. The situation was so dis-heartening that i was almost torn between holding back my tears and coordinating emergency humanitarian assistence as per my duties. I only had these wishes to make: That the loving God may not let this happen again, that comfort may return to the bereaved famlies, that these young soul may find rest in eternal peace.

  5. Oh God! I had ‘missed’ these. Seeing the photo of the relatives and the kids feet peering through the papyrus reeds their bodies were wrapped in: all at once in admiration for the Goya effect you achieved, and at the same time heartbreaking. I wish I had not seen these and yet I’m glad I did😦

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