FIVE family members were struck to death by lightning in the Muzvezve area of Sanyati District on Monday while they were working in their maize field.
National police spokesperson Paul Nyathi confirmed the tragedy to the Daily News and underscored the importance of staying indoors whenever it is raining.
“We confirm a sad incident where five family members were struck by lightning on Monday at 1530hours in Muzvezve, Sanyati.
“The incident occurred when the family members, who were working in their maize field, sought shelter under a tree when it started raining. The tree which they sought refuge under became the target of a lightning bolt,” Nyathi said.
The deceased have been identified as Machengeti Ntombizodwa, 44, Chikende Munatsi, 20, Isaac Mangwende, 13, Ishmael Mangwende, nine, and Professor Katsuro, eight.
The incident occurred barely two weeks after the Meteorological Services Department (MSD) forecast a violent weather pattern, characterised by thunderstorms across the southern Africa region.
“Such thundery phenomenon is usually superseded by lightning. This poses a potential threat to the tallest objects such as trees, poles, isolated sheds and even persons in an open field. Rainfall distribution will not be uniform with a few localised significant downpours.
“It is advisable to try and plan outdoor activities in such a way that one is less exposed to direct sunlight during hottest hours of the day. When thunder roars, it is best to be indoors,” the MSD said in a statement then.
The downpours experienced in recent days have left a trail of destruction across the country.
Last week, the rains caused floods in Binga which took the life of an 81-year-old man and left over 20 families marooned.
The country has over the last few years experienced climate change-related disasters including flooding and high temperatures — with Cyclone Idai wreaking havoc in most parts of Manicaland Province last year.