Death toll exceeds 50 in Ethiopia’s garbage dump landslide

ADDIS ABABA-- The number of people killed has exceeded 50 after a massive landslide on Saturday night hit a landfill at the outskirts of Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, officials at the Addis Ababa City Administration told Xinhua on Monday.

Dagmawit Moges, head of the Addis Ababa City Administration Communication Affairs Office, said that the death toll has exceeded 50, while the number of people injured has reached 28, of whom two are highly injured.

According to Dagmawit, this number could rise as the search for missing people is still ongoing at the site where the landslide occurred.

The city administration, after organizing a committee to respond properly to the crisis, has already evacuated 300 inhabitants from the area, in an effort to avoid the impact of similar other tragic incidents.

Dagmawit, however, indicated that since almost all residents in the area are informal settlers, the number of people missing has not been yet confirmed.

The condition at the 50-year-old landfill is said to be a bigger challenge for emergency personnel who are working "day and night" to save the lives of those residents who are missed.

The number of bodies found dead at the site was initially reported to be 15. This number, however, mounted to 35 later on Sunday and 45 on Monday morning. Officials at the city administration are still unsure whether this number could rise or not.

The massive landslide that occurred at 8 p.m. on Saturday night has buried and damaged several buildings in the area, while many of the residents were inside their houses during the landslide.

The 36 hectare municipal landfill, called "Koshe", in Ethiopia's capital is home for number of Addis Ababa dwellers who were apparently victims of a number of landslides, including the latest one on Saturday night.

Local residents told Xinhua that a number of smaller landslides had occurred at the dumping site over the past years, yet none of them had a magnitude of the one seen on Saturday.

The Addis Ababa City Administration and the Addis Ababa University Horn of Africa Regional Environmental Center (HoA-REC), in a bid to produce energy from the 50-year-old landfill, have recently installed the first stage of a methane capture and flaring system, known as the "Repi landfill gas project".

Source: Philippines News Agency