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7 family members die after building collapses

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By Brenda Kayo:

Seven people related to each other, from Mayani Village, Traditional Authority Chakhaza in Dowa, have died after a house they were sleeping in collapsed on them.

MacPatson Msadala, spokesperson for Mponela Police Station—in whose policing area the village lies— has confirmed the incident which he says occurred on the night of December 23 but only got noticed two days later, on Christmas Day.

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Msadala has identified the deceased as Abiti Beliyasi, 52, Mayamiko and Chikumbutso Kasangu, both aged 9, Joana Charles, 8, Kelvin Olandi, 6, Faith Kasangu, 4, and Benito Masamba, 5.

The police spokesperson said on the night of the incident, Beliyasi, together with her grandchildren sneaked into a dilapidated house which belongs to a resident of the village and slept there.

“Around midnight, the owner of the dilapidated house heard the sound of a falling wall but did not bother to check since, to him, the house was not occupied due to its poor condition.

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“On December 25, 2022, at around 8am, passers-by were greeted by a bad smell and flies from the fallen walls, a thing which attracted their attention and they decided to check what went wrong,” Msadala said.

He added that the passersby found seven bodies in the collapsed building already in decomposed states.

The police publicist added that officers from Bowe and Mponela visited the scene together with medical personnel from nearby Bowe Health Centre.

“Results of a postmortem conducted on the bodies showed that the seven had died from suffocation,” Msadala said.

It is believed that the building collapsed after the walls got sodden with rainwater.

Last week Friday, the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) issued a statement in which it said 42 people had died in Malawi due to lightning strikes and structure collapses in the current rainy season.

Dodma said 24 out of the country’s 29 districts had experienced torrential rains, floods, strong winds, hailstorms and lightning and that nearly 42,000 people had been affected.

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