A huge mound of garbage has collapsed in Mozambique’s capital, crushing several homes and killing at least 17 people.
Heavy rains are believed to have triggered the collapse in a poor district of Maputo. Authorities say more bodies could still be buried at the Hulene garbage dump and that a search is under way.
Local media say the trash dump rose to the height of a three-story building.
One of the residents in the area, Mario Castigo, told VOA’s Portuguese service about seven homes were destroyed in the landslide of garbage.
“I heard people screaming. I was alone, I couldn’t help. The water sliding pushed the trash, and it covered the houses down the hill. It took the lives of families, children,” Castigo said.
Residents in the area say the garbage dump is full and have long been arguing for its closure.
Yolanda Manuel, councilwoman for health and social issues in Maputo, told VOA that local officials have been working to close it.
“We’re working to terminate this garbage dump. We already moved forward to do it. This kind of situation shows us that we have to do it faster. But our work never stopped; we’re doing it.”
The Hulene dump is one of the largest in Maputo. Poor people often search through the garbage heap looking for items to sell.