Lightning hit village seeks better life

December 12, 2022 - 10:38
The village is located deep in the forest with the only access route a steep road located right next to a cliff.
Long Vớt villagers relocate after a lightning strike. Photo

QUẢNG NGÃI — Residents in Long Vớt Village, Sơn Tây District, south-central province of Quảng Ngãi are used to lightning strikes that hit households several times a year.

The village is located deep in the forest with the only access route a steep road located right next to a cliff.

Elderly villager Đinh Văn Điềm told Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper: “Lightning strikes killed buffalos, pigs and burned trees. The lightning sound makes everyone scared.

“My daughter and grandchild were struck by lightning last year. They were lucky not to have been killed.”

He recalled the incident when his daughter and grandchild went out at 7pm to visit his house.

“Non-stop lightning and thunderstorms created light on the ground so villagers could find them fainting on the ground,” he said.

It happened five years ago but Long Vớt villagers still remember the major losses they had to suffer. Many of them had to relocate after lightning struck not only people but also animals.

Đinh Thị Trường, another villager who cheated death, says her psychological health has been seriously affected after she was struck.

Now every time she hears lightning sounds, she feels frightened and hides in a corner of her room.

It is estimated that lightning strikes multiple times and hit houses three or four times a year. Local authorities so far have not found a reason to explain the frequency and strength of lightning in the village.

Scientists often explain that lightning often attacks high positions.

Long Vớt Village is located at a lower position than mountains and hills, yet it still becomes the centre of lightning and thunderstorms.

Đỗ Thanh Vượt, chairman of Sơn Long Commune People’s Committee, said: “Everyone feels scared of lightening because the whole village is struck many times. There is a countless number of animals killed and trees damaged.”

Long Vớt villagers who are from Ca Dong ethnic group are willing to relocate to other areas, according to Vượt.

Seventeen households with 73 residents have been relocated to a new village which is about 2km from the old one.

Although they have not fully settled in their new homes, villagers believe that it’s still better than living in the path of lightning.

Living in a makeshift house by the cliff made from a tent, Đinh Văn Dôn, one of the oldest villagers, still feels safer than living in his old house.

“I will not go back to the old village,” he said.

His fears are shared among many other villagers. Long Vớt Village which was once inhabited for generations earlier has become a forbidden land.

In spite of support from local authorities, the new village still has no water or electricity.

Chairman Vượt said the commune authorities have proposed to higher level authorities for water and power supplies in order to help residents stabilise their lives.

Đinh Trường Giang, vice chairman of Sơn Tây District People’s Committee, said the district’s limited budget could not allow authorities to create a new resettlement area.

“We have proposed to the provincial level for more support,” he said.

“Local authorities hope scientists will study and explain the cause of the strange weather phenomenon with a dense frequency so that local residents no longer feel anxious.” — VNS