Rubbish dump landslide kills at least 30 in Ethiopia

Many victims are thought to have been people who scavenged for a living at Koshe landfill site At least 30 people have been killed and dozens more hurt in a giant landslide at Ethiopia’s largest rubbish

Many victims are thought to have been people who scavenged for a living at Koshe landfill site

At least 30 people have been killed and dozens more hurt in a giant landslide at Ethiopia’s largest rubbish dump, officials have said.

Dozens of homes of squatters who lived in the Koshe landfill site, on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, were flattened when the largest pile of rubbish collapsed on Saturday.

“The death toll is now 30,” said Dagmawit Moges, head of the city communications bureau, adding that the number of fatalities could rise further. Many of the victims were squatters who scavenged for a living in the dump, she said.

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

The Koshe site has for more than 40 years been the main garbage dump for Addis Ababa, a rapidly growing city of about 4 million people.

According to residents, about 50 houses with about seven people living in each of them were built on the rubbish.

People had 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.

“This part, all of it went down,” he said, gesturing at a huge chunk of the hill that suddenly slid. “A lot of people died last night.”

Degefe blamed the collapse on a new biogas plant being constructed on top of the hill. Bulldozers could be seen on top of the hill pushing piles of rubbish around. Degefe said they were levelling ground for the plant, increasing pressure on the hillside and causing the collapse.

Cracks were visible in the ground at the top of the hill, suggesting more of the pile could slide.

Koshe, whose name means “dirt” in local slang, was closed last year by city authorities who asked people to move to a new dump site outside Addis Ababa. But the community there did not want the landfill, and so the garbage collectors moved back.

Poverty and food insecurity are sensitive issues in Ethiopia, which was hit by a famine in 1984-85 after extreme drought.

In recent 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. Critics have hit out at the government’s economic policies, saying they have a limited trickle-down effect from the elite to the majority of the people.

The Guardian

 

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12 COMMENTS
  • anti shaebia March 12, 2017

    Atleast the authorities are working on a plant that will produce electricity from the rubish which unfortunately caused the landslide. Shaebia would have placed some containers on the rubish and filled them with service dogers, mothers who complained about prices of food commodities and teen agers who committed very serious crimes (thinking to leave eritrea).

  • AHMED SALEH !!! March 12, 2017

    Poor man’s fight for survival and the greed of the rich and powerful .

  • Mehari March 12, 2017

    Only natural man made accident and should not give small insect Eritrean brains any joy or mad celebration.
    As what goes around comes around, time to feel sad and grieved for the loss of precious lives of our neighbors.
    In a time of sadness and losses all humans should get together and support/comfort as much as possible.

  • Negash March 13, 2017

    At least it is only 20 million Ethiopians that live below the poverty line set by the World Bank.
    How about in Eritrea? Out of 4 million Eritreans, about 3.5 million live below the poverty line.
    Poverty is one of the main reasons that large number of Eritreans are emigrating/leaving Eritrea.
    In Ethiopia they have large number of well educated and well trained to get them out of poverty.

    • Negash March 13, 2017

      correction: read as well educated and well trained people to get out the 20 million Ethiopians out of poverty in near future.

  • AHMED SALEH !!! March 13, 2017

    What is going on with ETHIOPIAN government ?
    Before they give a permit for construction project of waste to energy plant , they should take
    a little consideration to the safety of those poor scavengers and their families . It is wrong and
    immoral to politicize human tragedy but if somebody negligence created disaster , ofcourse
    someone must held responsibility .
    BULLDOZERS pushing piles of garbage around scavengers makeshift houses , give me a break .
    To be a poor person is not a crime . They reserve respect and consideration like anybody else .

  • anti shaebia March 13, 2017

    Rip to ethiopian brothers who lost their lives. May god give their loved ones and families strength during this trying times.

    • Meseret March 15, 2017

      Why only RIP to Ethiopian brothers and not sisters as well?
      There were large number of women with children who lost their lives
      while picking garbage foods and other valuable dumped things in Koshe.

  • hidat March 13, 2017

    BITEAM ZEHIZIN EYU HADEGA WEZBI EYU AB ZIKONE BOTAN SIATIN KEGATIM YIKIEL ..KEMZI AYNET HADEGA GIN””NIMOT AYTIBKEYILU NIHILFET BIKEYILU ZEBIL EYU ..NETOM ZIMOTU MENGISTE SEMAY YEWARISOM :NISIDRABET DIMA XINEAT YIHAB.

  • Adam March 13, 2017

    News which break our hearts . We pray for the dead and for surviving family members .
    Koshe landfill tragedy will leave very sad memory to Addis Ababa residents . I hope they learn
    from dangers people usually ignore .

  • k.tewolde March 13, 2017

    It is horrible news,always the lower social strata,the poor gets the brunt of it.Lord receive the innocent once.So sad.

  • hidat March 14, 2017

    BITAEMI ZEHIZIN EYU HADEGA WEZBI EYU AB ZIKONE SEATIN BOTAN YEGATIM EYU .KEMZI AYINET HADEGA GIN “””NIMOT AYTIBEKEYILU ………NIHILFET BIKEYILU ZIBIHAL EYU.NIZIMOTU MENGISTESEMAY YEWARSOM NISIDRABETOM DIMA XINEAT YEHABOM.

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