'Mountains of Garbage' Collapse, With Deadly Results

As many as 17 are dead in Mozambique
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 19, 2018 8:47 AM CST
Rains Trigger Deadly Collapse of 3-Story-High Trash Heap
Rescuers recover a body as they search for survivors at the collapse of a garbage mound in Maputo, Mozambique, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. Mozambican media say at least 17 people died when heavy rains triggered the partial collapse of the mound garbage.   (AP Photo/Ferhat Momade)

Heavy rains triggered the partial collapse of a huge mound of garbage in Mozambique's capital on Monday, killing as many as 17 people who were buried by debris. Authorities believe more bodies could be buried at the Hulene garbage dump on the outskirts of Maputo, and a search is underway, the AP reports. The garbage in the poor, densely populated area where the disaster happened rose to the height of a three-story building, according to the Portuguese news agency Lusa. At least twelve people died, Lusa reported. Radio Mocambique put the death toll at 17. Half a dozen homes were destroyed and some residents in the area fled for fear of another collapse.

"The mountains of garbage collapsed on the houses and many families were still inside these residences," Fatima Belchoir, a national disaster official, tells Lusa. Authorities are trying to help people who lost their homes, she says. The Hulene garbage dump is the largest such facility in Maputo. People often comb through the garbage, searching for food and items to sell. Health workers have long raised concerns about the impact of the fumes, flies, and other hazards of the dump on the surrounding community. Municipal officials have previously discussed the closure of the dump.

(More Mozambique stories.)

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