Twenty-six people died on Wednesday after lightning struck a high-tension power cable on the outskirts of the Congolese capital Kinshasa, causing it to snap and fall on houses and a market, the authorities said.
The victims included 24 women and two men and another two people were seriously injured, Democratic Republic of Congo’s government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said on Twitter.
Power cables frequently collapse in Kinshasa, a city of more than 13 million people with outdated infrastructure and informal neighbourhoods that sprawl into areas not intended for residential development.
Congo’s national association of architects said in a statement that the accident, which could have been avoided, was a consequence of a lack of respect of town-planning regulations under high-voltage electricity lines.
A statement from the national electricity company said the lightning strike occurred during a heavy storm on Wednesday morning. The company offered its condolences to the families.