Why lightning survivors are buried in Ethiopia

Francis Akhalbey May 14, 2024
A community in eastern Ethiopia buried twelve lightning survivors -- Photo Credit: PxHere

A community in eastern Ethiopia buried twelve lightning survivors up to their necks and also poured milk on them to fulfill a local ritual. Per BBC, the lightning on Sunday happened in the town of Melka Bello. 

“It was not heavy rain as such,” one of the survivors, Nesro Abdi, said. “The lightning struck a sheep at the door while we were inside a house. All of us fell down. Many of us were shaking.”

The survivors were ultimately helped by other locals after they heard screams. “They brought milk and poured it on us. They dug up the ground and buried our bodies below our necks,” Nesro said.

The practice of burying lightning survivors is observed in the Horn of Africa nation’s Oromia region. It is largely believed that the health of lightning survivors would be restored if they’re buried in soil and either made to drink milk or milk is poured on them, BBC reported. 

People also celebrate when lightning strikes as they do not want to anger the Almighty. Lightning is regarded as a Godly act. “As I couldn’t move my legs before, people had to carry me and put me in the soil,” Nesro said. “But when we got out of the soil, everyone is feeling better. I am moving well now.”

But environmental physics researcher at Haramaya University, Haftu Birhane, told the news outlet that these rituals are not scientifically proven and sent a word of caution against such practices. 

“What science advises is to take [survivors] to the nearest health facilities,” Birhane explained.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: May 14, 2024

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