Landslide at Ethiopia garbage dump 'kills at least 24'

Mar 13, 2017, 01:11
Landslide at Ethiopia garbage dump 'kills at least 24'

Smaller landslides have occurred at the Koshe landfill in the past two years, but no more than three people were killed, Assefa said.

The landslide has buried several makeshift homes and concrete buildings.

An AFP journalist at the scene said the largest pile of rubbish at the Koshe landfill appeared to have collapsed, triggering Saturday's tragedy that levelled dozens of homes of squatters living there. Officials say almost 40 people rescued have been receiving medical treatment.

The cause of the accident was not immediately clear, but residents say dumping of rubbish had resumed there in recent months.

The area has been a dumping ground for Addis Ababa's rubbish for more than five decades.

The initial death toll was reported at 35, with 37 people missing, but rescue workers recovered more bodies in the rubble.

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Local resident Tebeju Asres told the AP news agency that the family's house had been swallowed by the landslide. "My mother and three of my sisters were there when the landslide happened". Two people were seriously injured and remain hospitalised under intensive care. "Now I don't know the fate of all of them".

The mayor said people living near the dump will be resettled "in the long run".

Around 500 waste-pickers are believed to work at the landfill every day, sorting through the debris from the capital's estimated 4 million residents. A 2014 report pointed out that when the landfill was built more than 40 years ago, it was on the outskirts of the capital.

City officials in recent years have been trying to turn the garbage into a source of clean energy with a 120 million dollar investment.

Ethiopia has one of Africa's fastest-growing economies and is predicted by the World Bank to become a middle-income country by 2025.