Wednesday 13 December 2017

Rubbish dump landslide kills 46

Police officers at the scene of a rubbish dump landslide in Addis Ababa
Police officers at the scene of a rubbish dump landslide in Addis Ababa

Elias Meseret

At least 46 people have been killed after a mountain of rubbish gave way at a massive dump on the outskirts of Ethiopia's capital.

Addis Ababa city spokeswoman Dagmawit Moges said most of the 46 dead were women and children, and more bodies were expected to be found in the coming hours.

It was not immediately clear what caused Saturday night's collapse at the Koshe Garbage Landfill, which buried several makeshift homes and concrete buildings. The landfill has been a dumping ground for the capital's rubbish for more than 50 years.

About 150 people were there when the landslide occurred, resident Assefa Teklemahimanot said.

Addis Ababa mayor Diriba Kuma said 37 people had been rescued and were receiving medical treatment. Many people at the landfill had been scavenging items to make a living but others live there because renting homes, largely built of mud and sticks, is inexpensive.

"My house was right inside there," said a shaken Tebeju Asres, pointing to where one of the excavators was digging in deep, black mud. "My mother and three of my sisters were there when the landslide happened. I don't know the fate of all of them."

The resumption of garbage dumping at the site in recent months probably caused the landslide, Ms Teklemahimanot said.

The dumping had stopped in recent years but it resumed after farmers blocked dumping at a new landfill in their area.

Irish Independent

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