15 killed, dozens missing in Ethiopia garbage dump landslide

2017-03-12 13:30
Police officers secure the perimetre at the scene of a garbage landslide, as excavators aid rescue efforts, on the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (AP)

Police officers secure the perimetre at the scene of a garbage landslide, as excavators aid rescue efforts, on the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Addis Ababa - Fifteen people have been killed in a landslide at a massive garbage dump on the outskirts of Ethiopia's capital and several dozen people are missing, officials and residents said Sunday.

Addis Ababa Mayor Diriba Kuma said 15 bodies had been recovered since the landslide on Saturday night at the Koshe Garbage Landfill 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 at the site when the landslide occurred, resident Assefa Teklemahimanot told The Associated Press. The mayor said 37 people had been rescued and were receiving medical treatment.

Many people at the site had been scavenging items to make a living, but others live at the landfill because renting homes, largely built of mud and sticks, is relatively inexpensive there.

An AP reporter saw four bodies taken away by ambulances after being pulled from the debris. Elderly women cried, and others stood anxiously waiting for news of loved ones. Six excavators dug through the ruins.

"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."

State of emergency 

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.

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. City officials say close to 300 000 tons of waste are collected each year from the capital, most of it dumped at the landfill.

Since 2010, city officials have warned that the landfill was running out of room and was being closed in by nearby housing and schools.

City officials in recent years have been trying to turn the garbage into a source of clean energy with a $120 million investment. The Koshe waste-to-energy facility, which has been under construction since 2013, is expected to generate 50 megawatts of electricity upon completion.

Ethiopia, which has one of Africa's fastest growing economies, is under a state of emergency imposed in October after several months of sometimes deadly protests demanding wider political freedoms.

Read more on:    ethiopia  |  east africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.