Eleven people are dead and 12 were injured Sunday night when lightning hit a temple in the remote mountain town of Guacheca, Colombia.
Some 60 members of the Wiwa ethnic group were gathered together to carry out what tribal leaders described as a ritual of spiritual harmonization. Survivors have been evacuated by the Colombian army and flown to hospitals in the city of Santa Maria on Colombia’s northern coast to be treated for second and third degree burns, the BBC reports.
The Wiwa were using a thatched building as a temple to perform the ritual when it was hit by a bolt of lightning, starting a fire that burnt the building to the ground.
The president of Colombia expressed a feeling of solidarity with the indigenous community following the incident on his Twitter account.
The Colombian Indigenous Agency (Onic) has stated that it is trying to find ways of helping the tribe.
This is not the first misfortune to affect the Wiwa. As Onic explained, the Wiwa perform spiritual harmonization rituals when they encounter internal or external difficulties, including internecine conflict and environmental problems.