Lake Malawi storm: 9 more dead bodies found

Nine more dead bodies of fishermen that went missing on Lake Malawi in Nkhata Bay District last weekend were found Wednesday raising the death toll to 12, Police say.

The fishermen went missing following stormy Mwera winds that have been blowing over the Lake since Friday.

Nkhata Bay Police spokesperson Sergeant Martin Bwanali said among the 12 are Phillip Chirwa, 45, from Thowolo Village, Andrew Jai Banda, 52, from Longwe Village, Meke Chirwa, 28, from Thuli village, in the area of Traditional Authority (TA) Mankhambira in the district.

Fishing families on Lake Malawi, Credit: Mabvuto Banda/IPS -
Fishing families on Lake Malawi, Credit: Mabvuto Banda/IPS –

Bwanali also identified the other bodies as Agent Chirwa, 37, from Malengasoma Village in the area of TA Fukamalaza, Manase Chirwa, 42, from Kanyanda Village in the area of TA Malenga Mzoma, Richard Chirwa and Phillip Banda whose particulars were not yet known.

Sergeant Bwanali further said particulars of five bodies could not be immediately established and were buried instantly as they were found in decomposed state.

He said postmortem conducted by medical personnel from Nkhata Bay District Hospital indicated that the men died of suffocation while in water after their canoes capsized due to stormy winds.

The stormy winds mainly affected Sanga, Chintheche, Kande, Chifira and Kapeska areas.

Police believe many more fishermen may still be missing though their relations have, so far, not complained.

Some fishermen come to fish in the area from far places away from home. They camp in the area for several months.

“We found eight canoes at Sanga whose owners were missing but there could be more other fishermen who are missing,” Sergeant Bwanali said.

A resident in the district Tony Bridge Mwenda said it was a sad situation to see relations of people whose canoes were found without people collapsing in shock while others were mourning following the predicament.

“It is sad and we only pray that the bodies of those that are dead should be washed ashore and identified for proper burial,” Mwenda said.

Meanwhile, Nkhata Bay Police Officer-in-Charge, Assistant Commissioner Scotland Mvulayagunda, has warned fishermen against fishing on bad weather to avoid such incidences.

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