Heavy rains have triggered the partial collapse of a huge mound of garbage in Mozambique’s capital, killing at least 17 people who were buried under a mountain of rubbish.
Authorities believe more bodies could be found buried at the Hulene dump on the outskirts of Maputo, as the search for survivors continues.
The garbage in the poor, densely populated area where the disaster happened rose to the height of a three-storey building, according to the Portuguese news agency Lusa.
Lusa and Radio Mocambique both 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, told Lusa.
Authorities are trying to help people who lost their homes, she said.
People often comb through the garbage at the Hulene dump – the largest such facility in Maputo – in search of 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, while municipal officials have previously discussed the closure of the dump.