WORLD Rescue operations continue after deadly Cyclone Freddy hits Malawi


Rescue operations continue after deadly Cyclone Freddy hits Malawi


21:43, March 18, 2023

BLANTYRE, Malawi, March 18 (Xinhua) -- Rescue operations continued in Malawi after Cyclone Freddy diffused, leaving hundreds dead, tens of thousands displaced, and various infrastructures destroyed.

Young boys pass by a house demolished by mudslide at Manje informal settlement up the slopes of Soche Hill in Blantyre, southern Malawi, on March 17, 2023. (Photo: AFP)

According to the Malawian police, over 1,044 individuals stranded in the southern districts have been successfully rescued throughout the week.

Dickens Kamisa, commanding officer for the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) First Battalion, told Xinhua in an interview on Friday that despite logistical challenges, efforts to locate the remains of the deceased are currently underway.

Kamisa confirmed that the MDF, in partnership with the Malawi Red Cross Society and locals, is working tirelessly to recover the bodies of victims. "We are doing everything within our powers to locate and retrieve the corpses, and our efforts are ongoing despite the challenges we are facing."

Kamisa's reassurance came amidst concerns about the speed of the rescue efforts, with some members of the public expressing frustration at the slow pace of the operation. However, Kamisa remained confident that his team and partners will persevere and achieve their mission.

To speed up the process, the MDF and the Malawi Police Service have jointly deployed special units of officers with sniffing dogs to work in collaboration with local volunteers to expedite the process, he said.

The tally provided by Casper Chalera, deputy inspector general of police responsible for operations, showed that among those rescued, there are 414 children, 291 women and 19 elderly women, while the rest are men.

Friday evening update from Malawi's Department of Disaster Management Affairs said at least 438 people were confirmed dead, approximately 345,183 people have been displaced, and 505 camps have been set to accommodate the displaced.

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