As the toll in Ethiopia’s garbage dump landslide hit 65, Amnesty International has blamed the government for exposing its citizens to disasters.
“The death of more than 60 people in a landslide at a vast rubbish dump on the outskirts of the Ethiopian capital over the weekend is a clear case of dereliction of duty by the Ethiopian authorities,” Amnesty said.
Dozens of people were still missing following the disaster at the 36-hectare Repi municipal dumpsite in Addis Ababa on Saturday evening, Africa Review reports.
Many families have been rendered homeless after their makeshift houses were buried under tonnes of waste at the place also known as Koshe – meaning dirt in local slang.
“The Ethiopian government is fully responsible for this totally preventable disaster.
“It was aware that the landfill was full to capacity but continued to use it regardless.
“It also let hundreds of people continue to live in close proximity to it,” said Ms Muthoni Wanyeki, the Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.
The people, including many women and children, had no option but to live and work in such a hazardous environment because of the government’s failure to protect their right to adequate housing and decent work, he said
Koshe, now in its fifth decade, is the oldest landfill in Addis Ababa, a city of more than 3.6 million people.
More than 150 people were at the site when the landslide happened. Many of them had been scavenging for items for sale while others lived there, in unsafe makeshift housing.
“The government must do everything in its power to account for all those who are missing, provide survivors with adequate alternative housing, and safe and healthy working conditions,” said Ms Wanyeki.
“It must also ensure that a full-fledged inquiry is held to determine the specific causes of the landslide, and hold the individual officials responsible to account.”
The search for other missing people continues while some 300 survivors are hosted at a shelter prepared by the government, the state Communications Affairs Office said in its condolence message distributed to the media.