Ethiopia Landslide : 46 dead, dozens missing at country's largest garbage dump

March 13 2017
Ethiopia Landslide : 46 dead, dozens missing at country's largest garbage dump

At least 46 people died and dozens more were hurt in a giantlandslide at Ethiopia's largest rubbish dump outside Addis Ababa, a tragedy squatters living there blamed on a biogas plant being built nearby. Of 46 people dead, 32 were female, 14 male that includes some children.Saturday's landslide flattened dozens of homes ofpeople living in the Koshe dump when part of the largest pile of rubbish collapsed, an AFP journalist said.

An excavator aids rescue efforts at the scene of a garbage landslide on the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. AP
The streets in the neighbourhood below were filled with women sobbing and wailing.

Bystanderssaid there were still people trapped under collapsed mounds of rubbish,but police were preventing locals from getting close to the site.

Just six people were seen digging through the rubbish on Sunday looking for survivors and bodies.

IbrahimMohammed, a day labourer living at the landfill whose house was narrowly spared destruction, said the disaster happened in "three minutes". He estimated that more than 300 people live on the landfill.

Construction materials, wooden sticks and plastic sheeting could be seen in the wreckage, the AFP journalist said.

Formore than 40 years the Koshe site has been the main garbage dump for Addis Ababa, a rapidly growing city of some four million people. According to local residents, some 50 houses with about seven people living in each of them were built on the trash.

Peoplehad built the houses about two to three years ago, said Berhanu Degefe,a rubbish collector who lives at the dump but whose home was not destroyed. "Their livelihood depends on the trash. They collect from here and they live here," Degefe said, referring to the victims and other squatters.

Inrecent years, the country has been one of Africa's top-performing economies and a magnet for foreign investment, with growth in near-double digits and huge infrastructure investment.Still, nearly 20 million Ethiopians live below the poverty line set by the World Bank.

Criticshave hit out at the government's economic policies saying they have a limited trickle-down effect from the elite down to the majority of the people.