Friday 20 April 2018

Death toll in Ethiopia landfill collapse rises to 113

Rescuers work at the scene of the landslide, on the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia (AP)
Rescuers work at the scene of the landslide, on the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia (AP)

The death toll from a collapse at a landfill outside Ethiopia's capital has risen sharply to 113, an Addis Ababa city official said.

Dagmawit Moges confirmed the new toll on Wednesday evening, while an official with the city's emergency department, Nigatu Mamo, said the search and rescue effort continued.

"We will continue the effort until we are directed to stop it. Our rescuers are working in two shifts, day and night," the emergency official said.

Saturday's collapse of a mountain of garbage buried makeshift mud-and-stick homes inside the Koshe landfill on the outskirts of the capital. Excavators and rescuers have been pulling bodies from the black mud since then.

One person was pulled out alive on Monday, two days after the disaster.

Excavators were being redeployed from various construction projects around Addis Ababa to help in the search.

It was not yet clear how the collapse occurred. Residents have said the dumping of rubbish had resumed there in recent months after protests at a newer landfill site. Others have blamed the construction of a new waste-to-energy plant at Koshe.

Officials said they have already relocated about 300 people from the landfill, where hundreds of waste-pickers salvaged items to make a living and others found inexpensive housing.

The landfill has been a dumping ground for the capital's garbage for more than 50 years. Smaller collapses have occurred at Koshe - or "dirty" in the local Amharic language - in the past two years but only two or three people were killed, residents said.

Officials said the landfill receives close to 300,000 tons of waste collected each year from the capital.


Press Association

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