Close to 100 Drown in 8 Months
Statistics from the Malawi Police Service show that 99 people have drowned in various parts of the country between January and August this year, a slightly low figure compared to what was registered in the same period last year.
According to National Police Spokesperson Peter Kalaya and Director of Marine Services Captain Mhango, more people drown due to negligence, saying of the victims ignored weather updates from the department of meteorological services.
Kalaya says most negligence is fueling incidents of drowning as people still go on the waters despite weather warning from the MET department.
“We urge Malawians to take heed of advice that is given by the meteorological department because recently most of the people who drowned on Lake Malawi when the department of meteorological services had already told people not to go into the waters, but they ignored that,” Kalaya says.
Kalaya said, among other measures, the police are working with the marine services department to help curb the problem.
He adds, “We are doing everything we can to make sure that people are not drowning; we sensitize people not to go into the lake when Mwera winds are blowing, and we use our community policing department to inform people not to cross rivers when they are flooded.”
Director of Marine Services Captain John Mhango says the fishing community ignore the advice from the MET department by prioritizing fishing activities.
“When the catch is good, despite the bad weather they do not listen and still go into the waters," he observes.
Cpt Mhango has asked the fishing community to take the responsibility of following the weather updates in order to help curb the problem.
“It is actually the fisherman’s responsibility to know whether to go fishing when there is bad weather. If you decide to go when the weather is rough, definitely when your boat capsizes, you will not be recovered because even the rescue becomes a challenge. You don’t give assistance when you are also in danger,” he says.
Recently, four people drowned in Rukuru river in Mzimba district and three people drowned on Lake Malawi in Nkhotakota.
Last year around the same period, the country registered 103 cases of drowning.