Malawi : sniffer dogs added to search party as death toll hits 326
Malawi Police Service Dog Handlers lead sniffer dogs into the mudslide disaster during a joint operation to recover bodies of victims in Blantyre, Malawi, on March 17, 2023.
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As the search for dead bodies in Blantyre, Malawi continues, local authorities have brought on search dogs to support a team of soldiers and local people.
“The search for dead bodies is faster today than yesterday because of the sniffer dogs that have come. We are able to see what is happening because of the dogs,” explains Kondwani Chilimba, relative to four deceased people.
Previously, lacking sniffer dogs and armed just with shovels, rescuers in Malawi made a grim hunt for buried and decomposing bodies lying amid the debris from destroyed homes.
In Manje, a township around 15 kilometres (nine miles) south of Blantyre, five bodies were recovered after locals said they had spotted bubbles forming under the muddy rubble.
“Two days ago we had some challenges. We were having some difficulties to trace where the dead bodies were, but today because of these sniffer dogs, we have managed to trace more [dead bodies] than some few days ago,” denotes Ruth Harawa, assistant comissionner of police.
Rescuers were unearthing more bodies as the chances of finding survivors faded after the cyclone followed a highly unusual course by returning to lash southern Africa’s mainland a second time.
The death toll has risen to 326, announced Lazarus Chakwera, president of Malawi, Thursday, totaling the number of victims across southern Africa to more than 400 since February.