Mountain of Garbage Collapses, Kills at Least 35
Dozens of squatters missing in garbage dump outside Ethiopia's capital
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 12, 2017 11:31 AM CDT
Police officers secure the scene of a garbage landslide, as excavators aid rescue efforts, on the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sunday, March 12, 2017.   (Elias Meseret)
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(Newser) – A mountain of trash gave way in a massive garbage dump on the outskirts of Ethiopia's capital, killing at least 35 people and leaving several dozen missing, as officials vowed to relocate those who called the landfill home. Addis Ababa city spokeswoman Dagmawit Moges said most of the dead were women and children, and more bodies were expected to be found. It was not immediately clear what caused Saturday night's collapse at the Koshe Garbage Landfill, which al Jazeera notes buried more than 30 makeshift homes. 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 told the AP. Addis Ababa Mayor Diriba Kuma said 37 people had been rescued and were receiving medical treatment. Dagmawit said two had serious injuries.

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

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