No fewer than 30 people were killed and 28 others injured in a giant landslide of garbage inside a trash dump on the outskirts of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
Africa Review reports that a city spokesman said on Sunday that the landslide late Saturday levelled more than 30 makeshift homes of squatters living inside the Koshe landfill.
Dagmawit Moges, head of the city communications bureau, said many of the victims were squatters, who scavenged for valuables in the dump, he said.
“We expect the number of victims to increase because the landslide covered a relatively large area,” he said.
The Koshe site has for more than 40 years been one of the main garbage dumps for Addis Ababa, a rapidly growing city of some four million people.
Addis Ababa city spokeswoman Dagmawit Moges said most of the 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 landslide at the Koshe Garbage Landfill, which buried several makeshift homes and concrete buildings.
The landfill has been a dumping ground for the capital’s garbage 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. Dagmawit said two had serious injuries.
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 relatively 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. Now I don’t know the fate of all of them.”
The resumption of garbage dumping at the site in recent months likely caused the landslide, Assefa said.
The dumping had stopped in recent years, but it resumed after farmers in a nearby restive region where a new garbage landfill complex was being built blocked dumping in their area.
Smaller landslides have occurred at the Koshe landfill in the past two years but only two or three people were killed, Assefa said.
“In the long run, we will conduct a resettling program to relocate people who live in and around the landfill,” the Addis Ababa mayor said.