Hoima Schools Yet To Invest in Lightning Conductors

2303 Views Hoima, Uganda

In short
Hundreds of lives of pupils and students in Hoima district are at risk because their schools do not have lightning conductors at the beginning of another rainy season in Uganda.

Hundreds of lives of pupils and students in Hoima district are at risk because their schools do not have lightning conductors at the beginning of another rainy season in Uganda.
 
A student was struck and killed by lightning last week while reading in a classroom. Patrick Okiri was a senior six student of Buhanika Seed Secondary School in Buhanika Sub County, Hoima district. He had been reading a building without a lightning conductor although some blocks of the school have conductors.
 
According to Hoima District Education Officer (DEO) Godfrey Sserwanja, a lightning conductor works within a radius of 100meters.
 
Earlier three residents of Kiryatete in Hoima Municipality were rushed to hospital after they too were struck by lightning.
 
Mparo Primary School in Hoima Municipality is one such school that does not have a lightning conductor though it has 275 pupils. The school's head teacher Annet Bigirwa says the school does not have the funds to buy a lightning conductor as it only receives an 800, 000 shillings capitation grant from government.
 
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URN has established that lightning conductor costs between 1.5 million shillings to 2 million shillings.
 
A source at Kyentale Primary School informed this reporter that the school is planning to ask parents to contribute for the purchase of a lightning conductor. The school has 193 pupils.
 
In Bujalya Primary School in Buhimba Sub County, the school's lightning conductor was stolen and has never been replaced.
 
Jackson Kiija, the head teacher Hoima Public Primary school in Hoima town calls on fellow school administrators to make lightning conductors a priority in their schools.
 
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Hoima Public School is the largest Universal Primary Education (UPE) school in Hoima with 1121 pupils. The school's four classroom blocks all have lightning conductors.
 
The DEO Sserwanja says many schools are unable to buy lightning conductors because of limited funds. He says those schools that do buy them often cannot buy coverage for all their buildings.
 
Hoima has 135 UPE schools and 14 governments aided secondary schools. Sserwanja says about 20 percent of the primary schools have the lightning rods. He says secondary schools are better off since many of them have been reconstructed under World Bank funding and secured against lightning.
 
The deadliest lightning strike on a school was at Runyanya Primary School in Kiryandongo district in 2012. At least 18 pupils were killed while 36 others survived with shock and severe burns. The Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness Musa Ecweru then said the deaths occurred because buildings had not been installed with lightning rods.