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Kalangala Struggling to Contain Harm Caused by Lightning

Bugala island alone, the largest and main of the 84 islands that make up the District is hit by lightning more than 5 times a year destroying equipment used in the generation of power, water and ferry transport.

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Kalangala district is struggling to mitigate effects of lightning that hits several parts of the District regularly. Bugala island alone, the largest and main of the 84 islands that make up the District is hit by lightning more than 5 times a year destroying equipment used in the generation of power, water and ferry transport. 

The lightning has oftentimes affected key installations like the hybrid solar-thermal power plant that generates and transmits 1.6 megawatts of electricity all over Bugala Island, the water systems, the four ferries that ply to and from Kalangala and the Oil Palm Uganda Limited Mills in Kalangala. Other affected installations are the fish processing plants and household items that are usually destroyed by a strike of lightning.

Last week, installations and household items worth 80 million Shillings were hit and destroyed by lightning. This prompted the district leadership to call for the institution of Lightning arresters and a Lightening tower in Kalangala to prevent any further harm from the strikes. 

This, according to Wolongolo Aggrey, an electrical engineer in the District is because the district is Rocky with limited soil aeration to immediately conduct electricity and power. 

Wolongolo says that despite all efforts to contain lightning in Kalangala, the topography of the Island District remains the biggest challenge which can only be solved with the institution of a lightening tower to arrest lightning expected in an area in a 30-kilo meter radius. 

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Cue out... give you power."// 

He says that in areas such as those that are used in power generation like at the Bukuzindu solar -thermal power plant, several lightning arrestors have been put in place and the problem was managed to a larger extent. 

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Cue out...Bukuzindu to Kyagalanyi."// 

Lodvic Kiberu, the officer in Charge of Finance and Business Development in the district told Uganda Radio Network that the natural occurrence mostly affects business entities and, in the long, makes organizations inefficient. 

"We need action to be taken, we need more lightning conductors and other measures to ensure there is deterrence of such harm," says Kiberu. 

The District leadership in 2017 passed a resolution to prioritize the acquisition of lightning arresters to prevent harm by lightning. The district council also passed a resolution to have up to 5 per cent of the locally generated revenue used to buy the lightning arresters in the next five years. However, none has been purchased so far.

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