Rescue dogs boost for Cyclone Idai landslide search efforts

SA sniffer dog combs through the rubble at Ngangu, Chimanimani in search of missing people Pic: Newsday

By Norma Tsopo

South African search and rescue dogs are giving promise to the recovery of people buried under mud, rubble and boulders after the Cyclone Idai triggered landslides that killed over 300 people in Chimanimani.

The four Gift of the Givers sniffer dogs that were deployed this week after Zimbabwe failed to avail any have already identified 23 potential sites – 12 in Ngangu high density suburb and 11 at Dzingire growth point popularly known as Kopa.

Two other dogs from Paramount another South African company are combing Peacock area where a business centre was completely swept away with nearly a dozen people still missing.

Manicaland Provincial Civil Protection Unit chairperson Edgars Seenza revealed Friday evening that the dogs had been a major boost to recues efforts as government is still to account for over 347 people with 181 confirmed deaths.

“Identifying bodies in Ngangu and Kopa is now very difficult because of the heavy boulders that are now covering where houses used to be but the rescue dogs are now improving our prospects of success,” Seenza said.

Government has come under heavy criticism when it failed to provide any rescue dog despite its state security boasting of having well-trained dogs that are put on show at numerous shows throughout the year.

A significant number of missing persons were however washed away by flooded rivers and streams. While