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8 miners rescued in Zimbabwe; dozens more feared dead

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Families react after hearing eight artisanal miners survived after rains flooded mines on the outskirts of Kadoma, west of Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. About 40 people were trapped underground, said a police spokesman. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

KADOMA, Zimbabwe (AP) — Eight subsistence miners who were trapped underground for several days after heavy flooding in Zimbabwe have been rescued, though dozens of their co-workers are still missing and feared dead.

Rescuers on Saturday pulled the exhausted, muddied survivors from the ground and took them to a tent for medical treatment. Relatives waiting at the scene ululated, cheered and hugged each other.

Later came the retrieval of the dead. One by one the bodies were pulled from one of the tunnels in the gold fields, put in blue body bags and into a police truck which is transporting them to a tent for identification.

Dozens of the small-scale gold miners were caught underground Tuesday on the outskirts of Kadoma, west Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, when a dam wall collapsed and water rushed into the nearby mining tunnels.

It is unclear how many miners remain trapped, but the government has said between 60 and 70 people were working underground at the time of the accident. The government has declared it a national disaster.

Uniformed police, government workmen and artisanal miners, some of them wearing shorts, T-shirts and sandals, are working together in the retrieval operation using a hand-powered winch and ropes.

Ignoring a strong stench, some people broke through the police perimeter to catch a glimpse of the process, while others hoped to identify their friends and relatives.

At least 20 bodies had been identified underground, while the search for more bodies continued, said Henrietta Rushwaya, the leader of Zimbabwe's association of small scale miners.

A government statement Friday said that $200,000 is needed to complete the operation. Local head of the Civil Protection Unit Cecilia Chitiyo told reporters Saturday that "well-wishers" should donate body bags, masks, gloves, diesel fuel and other needed items.

Rescued miners sit in a tent after rains flooded mines on the outskirts of Kadoma, west of Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. About 40 people were trapped underground, said a police spokesman. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Survivors of artisanal miners sit in a tent after rains flooded mines on the outskirts of Kadoma, west of Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. About 40 people were trapped underground, said a police spokesman. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Artisanal miners accompanied by police carry the body of one of their colleagues who died after rains flooded the mines while they were underground in Kadoma town about 200 kilometres west of Harare, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019.  According to government estimates, about 70 miners are still trapped underground, their fate still unknown. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Families react as dead bodies of artisanal miners who died after rains flooded the mines while they were underground, are retrieved at a mine on the outskirts of Kadoma town about 200 kilometres west of Harare, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. According to the government they estimate that about 70 miners are still trapped underground with their fate still uncertain .(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
A health official gives instructions on how to handle the bodies of artisanal miners who died after rains flooded the mines while they were underground in Kadoma town about 200 kilometres west of Harare, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. According to government estimates, about 70 miners are still trapped underground, with their fate still uncertain. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Families react after hearing eight artisanal miners survived after rains flooded mines on the outskirts of Kadoma, west of Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. About 40 people were trapped underground, said a police spokesman. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Families react after hearing eight artisanal miners survived after rains flooded mines on the outskirts of Kadoma, west of Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. About 40 people were trapped underground, said a police spokesman. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Artisanal miners accompanied by a police vehicle carry the body of one of their colleagues who died after rains flooded the mines while they were underground in Kadoma town about 200 kilometres west of Harare, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019.  According to government estimates, about 70 miners are still trapped underground, their fate still unknown. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Artisanal miners accompanied by a police vehicle carry the body of one of their colleagues who died after rains flooded the mines while they were underground in Kadoma town about 200 kilometres west of Harare, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019.  According to government estimates, about 70 miners are still trapped underground, their fate still unknown. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
A police officer directs operations at a mine in Kadoma town about 200 kilometers west of Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. Eight artisanal miners who were trapped underground for several days after heavy flooding in Zimbabwe have been rescued, though dozens of their co-workers are still missing and feared dead. Rescuers on Saturday pulled the exhausted, muddied survivors from the ground and took them to a tent for medical treatment. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Rescuers take a break during operations at a mine in Kadoma town about 200 kilometers west of Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. Eight artisanal miners who were trapped underground for several days after heavy flooding in Zimbabwe have been rescued, though dozens of their co-workers are still missing and feared dead. Rescuers on Saturday pulled the exhausted, muddied survivors from the ground and took them to a tent for medical treatment. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Men carry a body bag during rescue operations at a mine in Kadoma town about 200 kilometers west of Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. Eight artisanal miners who were trapped underground for several days after heavy flooding in Zimbabwe have been rescued, though dozens of their co-workers are still missing and feared dead. Rescuers on Saturday pulled the exhausted, muddied survivors from the ground and took them to a tent for medical treatment. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
A man wears a mask outside a mine in Kadoma town about 200 kilometers west of Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. Eight artisanal miners who were trapped underground for several days after heavy flooding in Zimbabwe have been rescued, though some of their co-workers are still missing and feared dead. Rescuers on Saturday pulled the exhausted, muddied survivors from the ground and took them to a tent for medical treatment. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Rescued miners sit in a tent after rains flooded mines on the outskirts of Kadoma, west of Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. About 40 people were trapped underground, said a police spokesman. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Rescued miners sit in a tent after rains flooded mines on the outskirts of Kadoma, west of Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. About 40 people were trapped underground, said a police spokesman. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Families react as dead bodies of artisanal miners who died after rains flooded the mines while they were underground, are retrieved at a mine on the outskirts of Kadoma town about 200 kilometres west of Harare, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. According to the government they estimate that about 70 miners are still trapped underground with their fate still uncertain .(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Families react as dead bodies of artisanal miners who died after rains flooded the mines while they were underground, are retrieved at a mine on the outskirts of Kadoma town about 200 kilometres west of Harare, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. According to the government they estimate that about 70 miners are still trapped underground with their fate still uncertain .(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Families react after hearing eight artisanal miners survived after rains flooded mines on the outskirts of Kadoma, west of Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. About 40 people were trapped underground, said a police spokesman. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Families react after hearing eight artisanal miners survived after rains flooded mines on the outskirts of Kadoma, west of Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. About 40 people were trapped underground, said a police spokesman. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Families react after hearing eight artisanal miners survived after rains flooded mines on the outskirts of Kadoma, west of Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. About 40 people were trapped underground, said a police spokesman. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Families react after hearing eight artisanal miners survived after rains flooded mines on the outskirts of Kadoma, west of Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. About 40 people were trapped underground, said a police spokesman. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Families react after hearing eight artisanal miners survived after rains flooded mines on the outskirts of Kadoma, west of Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. About 40 people were trapped underground, said a police spokesman. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Families react after hearing eight artisanal miners survived after rains flooded mines on the outskirts of Kadoma, west of Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. About 40 people were trapped underground, said a police spokesman. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
A health official gives instructions on how to handle the bodies of artisanal miners who died after rains flooded the mines while they were underground in Kadoma town about 200 kilometres west of Harare, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. According to government estimates, about 70 miners are still trapped underground, with their fate still uncertain. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
A health official gives instructions on how to handle the bodies of artisanal miners who died after rains flooded the mines while they were underground in Kadoma town about 200 kilometres west of Harare, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. According to government estimates, about 70 miners are still trapped underground, with their fate still uncertain. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Artisanal miners accompanied by police carry the body of one of their colleagues who died after rains flooded the mines while they were underground in Kadoma town about 200 kilometres west of Harare, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019.  According to government estimates, about 70 miners are still trapped underground, their fate still unknown. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Artisanal miners accompanied by police carry the body of one of their colleagues who died after rains flooded the mines while they were underground in Kadoma town about 200 kilometres west of Harare, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. According to government estimates, about 70 miners are still trapped underground, their fate still unknown. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Rescuers take a break during operations at a mine in Kadoma town about 200 kilometers west of Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. Eight artisanal miners who were trapped underground for several days after heavy flooding in Zimbabwe have been rescued, though dozens of their co-workers are still missing and feared dead. Rescuers on Saturday pulled the exhausted, muddied survivors from the ground and took them to a tent for medical treatment. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Rescuers take a break during operations at a mine in Kadoma town about 200 kilometers west of Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. Eight artisanal miners who were trapped underground for several days after heavy flooding in Zimbabwe have been rescued, though dozens of their co-workers are still missing and feared dead. Rescuers on Saturday pulled the exhausted, muddied survivors from the ground and took them to a tent for medical treatment. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Artisanal miners accompanied by a police vehicle carry the body of one of their colleagues who died after rains flooded the mines while they were underground in Kadoma town about 200 kilometres west of Harare, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019.  According to government estimates, about 70 miners are still trapped underground, their fate still unknown. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Artisanal miners accompanied by a police vehicle carry the body of one of their colleagues who died after rains flooded the mines while they were underground in Kadoma town about 200 kilometres west of Harare, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. According to government estimates, about 70 miners are still trapped underground, their fate still unknown. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
A man wears a mask outside a mine in Kadoma town about 200 kilometers west of Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. Eight artisanal miners who were trapped underground for several days after heavy flooding in Zimbabwe have been rescued, though some of their co-workers are still missing and feared dead. Rescuers on Saturday pulled the exhausted, muddied survivors from the ground and took them to a tent for medical treatment. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
A man wears a mask outside a mine in Kadoma town about 200 kilometers west of Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. Eight artisanal miners who were trapped underground for several days after heavy flooding in Zimbabwe have been rescued, though some of their co-workers are still missing and feared dead. Rescuers on Saturday pulled the exhausted, muddied survivors from the ground and took them to a tent for medical treatment. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Artisanal miners accompanied by a police vehicle carry the body of one of their colleagues who died after rains flooded the mines while they were underground in Kadoma town about 200 kilometres west of Harare, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019.  According to government estimates, about 70 miners are still trapped underground, their fate still unknown. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Artisanal miners accompanied by a police vehicle carry the body of one of their colleagues who died after rains flooded the mines while they were underground in Kadoma town about 200 kilometres west of Harare, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. According to government estimates, about 70 miners are still trapped underground, their fate still unknown. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
A police officer directs operations at a mine in Kadoma town about 200 kilometers west of Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. Eight artisanal miners who were trapped underground for several days after heavy flooding in Zimbabwe have been rescued, though dozens of their co-workers are still missing and feared dead. Rescuers on Saturday pulled the exhausted, muddied survivors from the ground and took them to a tent for medical treatment. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
A police officer directs operations at a mine in Kadoma town about 200 kilometers west of Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. Eight artisanal miners who were trapped underground for several days after heavy flooding in Zimbabwe have been rescued, though dozens of their co-workers are still missing and feared dead. Rescuers on Saturday pulled the exhausted, muddied survivors from the ground and took them to a tent for medical treatment. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Survivors of artisanal miners sit in a tent after rains flooded mines on the outskirts of Kadoma, west of Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. About 40 people were trapped underground, said a police spokesman. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Survivors of artisanal miners sit in a tent after rains flooded mines on the outskirts of Kadoma, west of Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. About 40 people were trapped underground, said a police spokesman. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Men carry a body bag during rescue operations at a mine in Kadoma town about 200 kilometers west of Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. Eight artisanal miners who were trapped underground for several days after heavy flooding in Zimbabwe have been rescued, though dozens of their co-workers are still missing and feared dead. Rescuers on Saturday pulled the exhausted, muddied survivors from the ground and took them to a tent for medical treatment. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Men carry a body bag during rescue operations at a mine in Kadoma town about 200 kilometers west of Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, Feb, 16, 2019. Eight artisanal miners who were trapped underground for several days after heavy flooding in Zimbabwe have been rescued, though dozens of their co-workers are still missing and feared dead. Rescuers on Saturday pulled the exhausted, muddied survivors from the ground and took them to a tent for medical treatment. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)