Department of Parks Admits Understaffing Affecting Emergency Responses

The Department of Parks and Wildlife says understaffing in its emergency rescue team is affecting their efforts to have its officers stationed in all areas where crocodile attacks are frequently happening as they only have a team of less than 20 officers countrywide.

This follows a complaint from Senior Chief Sitola of Machinga who has blamed the department of responding late when such accidents happen along Shire river in Liwonde instead of housing the team around area.

In the past two months, about four fishermen were attacked by crocodiles in the Shire river along Liwonde township with others going missing.

Sitola has, however, suggested an institution of a rescue department in Liwonde to assist whenever an emergency arises.

"This is very uncalled for as people of my area are being frequently attacked by crocodiles but even if we call the rescuers the respond so late. I need them to open their offices here in Liwonde to easily execute their duties," said Senior Chief Sitola.

Meanwhile, Director of Parks and Wildlife, Brighton Kumchedwa has acknowledged the challenge but says there is a need for additional recruitments in its staff.

He says currently, they have sent a team of emergency response officer in strategic areas around lake Malawi districts and lower Shire districts of Nsanje and Chikwawa.

"We understand the needs of the people in Liwonde just that the emergency response team has a very limited number of members which we need to beef up in the near future," said Kumchedwa.

"We need a team that has over 20 members because we will have to send them to all strategic areas where these crocodile attacks are rampant including in Liwonde," he added.

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