Wednesday, June 29, 2011

18 Children killed in lightning strike

Lightning kills 18 kids at primary school
"A LIGHTNING strike at a primary school in western Uganda has killed 18 students and injured 50. Lightning hit Runyanya primary school in Kiryandongo district, about 225km northwest of Kampala, killing 15 girls and three boys yesterday, police spokeswoman Judith Nabakooba said. "The injured were taken to hospital nearby and 15 of those who were seriously injured were transferred to Mulago hospital," in Kampala, Nabakooba said. Local media reported that a further 21 pupils were burned after lightning struck at a second school in Zombo district, about 380km north of Kampala. Police could not confirm the incident. Nabakooba could not provide an exact figure for the total number killed by lightning in recent weeks, but local newspaper The Daily Monitor reported a total of 28 killed and scores injured in the past week, including Tuesday's incidents. Uganda is experiencing unseasonably heavy rainstorms and concern about the number of recent lightning strikes has prompted lawmakers to demand an official explanation from government."

In this article, though it is stated that lightning strikes are common in that locality, the fact that so many had occurred at once shook the town leaders:

"The lightning hit the victims in a classroom at a school in Kiryandongo, 130 miles north of Kampala, police said. Another 38 children were admitted to hospital. The East African country has suffered a wave of fatal lightning strikes in recent weeks during unseasonably heavy rains. The deaths were debated in parliament on Monday, with MPs calling on the government to come up with strategy to deal with what several termed “a crisis”. "I don’t know which minister is in charge of the lightning but let the government come up with a statement to inform the country on what is going on and how we can manage it,” Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said. Local meteorologists have criticized the government for not providing enough lightning conductors for buildings in storm hotspots. “The 19 were killed in single lightning strike on Monday,” a police spokesman said. “They were ready to leave school but there was a heavy downpour and so they sheltered in the classroom and then, all of a sudden, it struck."

In early June, a lightning strike at Camp Shelby in Mississippi sent 77 cadets to the hospital. Lightning has been busy lately. Similar lightning strikes have occurred in Northern Nigeria, also. "15 killed by Nigeria lightning"

I was heartbroken to read that it was children who were killed, and shocked to see that they had been inside a structure. However, I was not surprised to see the reaction of man, that a 'natural' event had to be managed or even could be managed.

In The Language of God series, I wrote about lightning. You can read that essay here, with scriptures and my interpretation of what lightning strikes may mean. Meanwhile, we can also pray for the families of the little ones taken from earth. I can't imagine the horror and sorrow of the families who learned that eighteen of their children had been killed. In the US, 18 children comprise an entire classroom. Imagine what the headlines would be if a bus filled with children slid off a bridge, killing the kids on board! Or if there had been a fire, or a shooting, or similar tragedy where so many children had lost their loves! It is terrible.

But worse is the response of man. To make statements that lightning must be managed, to refer to man's strength instead of Jesus' mercy, is a worse state of mind and heart. We know that soon, after the rapture, the 'natural' events will not be able to be explained. Until then, brothers and sisters, remain strong and sure of His calling and election in your life, and witness through that strength. Peace and calm He gave to us and in addition, He gave us the Spirit, salvation, and an eternal blessing to dwell with Him. I look to and through and beyond the events like the Ugandan lightning strike, to His hands who holds the lightning bolts, and count my blessing He calls us friend.

4 comments:

  1. But why children? This seriously broke my heart...

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  2. "But why children?" I think we tend to forget that children are sinners in need of a Savior, just like adults are sinners in need of a Savior. Children are not "innocent". They are usually naive about many things, but they are not innocent. Just watching my 20 month old granddaughter have an angry fit and start hitting her older brother because she's jealous of his toy shows me the proof of her sinful nature, inherited from Adam. This is part of the reason we evangelize children from the cradle up - children need a Savior.

    Although we do not know the spiritual state of these children, I am also reminded of Isaiah's words:
    57:1 "The righteous perish,
    and no one ponders it in his heart;
    devout men are taken away,
    and no one understands
    that the righteous are taken away
    to be spared from evil.
    2 Those who walk uprightly
    enter into peace;
    they find rest as they lie in death."

    Knowing a bit about the social and political situation of these areas, maybe these children have been spared from evil that we as Americans can only read about and/or imagine. We will only know the answer to that when we get to heaven.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous, I thought that as well, maybe they were spared something terrible already present or are spared something terrible soon to come. Perhaps the parents are of faith and their faith in the face of tragedy may show a light into the hearts of nearby unbelievers. I don't know...

    I also agree that children are sinners too. However I differ with you in that I believe a case can be made that their sins are not applied to them until they reach an age where they can be held accountable for them.

    FMI, here is a study on that and on which I base my own understanding of Romans 7:9--
    http://www.gty.org/Resources/Articles/A264_The-Age-of-Accountability?q=age+of+accountability

    and also here
    http://gracethrufaith.com/ask-a-bible-teacher/the-age-of-accountability/

    As for why there were so many children killed by lightning in one fell swoop...All I can do is rely on the verse "My ways are not your ways and my thoughts are not your thoughts" Is 55:8

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  4. I take comfort in the fact that EVERYTHING, even tragedy, is in God's loving hands, and it's never something that slipped by Him unbeknownst. His will is never wrong, and always perfect, so I know even in this horrible incident, there is purpose-- even if we don't see it. Isaiah 55:8 sums it up perfectly, Elizabeth. But oh, how I mourn for those families!!! I pray God uses this to bring them to Him.

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