A rubbish dump landslide in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, killed at least 10 and injured 12, Sri Lankan officials said Saturday, as army soldiers continued to search the site to ensure no one was buried under the enormous mountain of trash that buried dozens of houses.
Firefighters fought to extinguish a fire at the top of the estimated 300-foot (91-meter) rubbish dump, which had collapsed after the flames engulfed it. Witnesses told Reuters that at least 40 houses may have been buried in the landslide.
The Disaster Management Center said Saturday that 75 people whose homes were damaged were being housed in a nearby school.
A 13-year-old boy and and two girls aged 14 and 15 were among the dead, Pushpa Soysa, head nurse at the main Colombo hospital, told Reuters.
"Ten more are being treated at the hospital," Soysa said.
The government deployed troops and police to help with the rescue operation on the island nation's traditional new year's day.
Police said in a statement they were unable to say how many houses had been buried in the landslide.
"It is too early and still we can't say how many houses are damaged or destroyed and how many people affected," said Pradeep Kodippili, Disaster Management Center spokesman.
Residents in the area have been demanding the removal of the dump, saying it was causing health issues. The government had planned to remove it soon under an infrastructure plan.