The death toll that followed the collapse of a rubbish mound in a poor district of Mozambique’s capital Maputo now stands at 17, emergency services said
The collapse which crushed several nearby homes is said to have been caused by torrential rain which made the loose waste to shift and crash down on the shacks, trapping the occupants who were sleeping at the time of the incident on Sunday night, February 18.
Mozambique’s emergency service warned there could be more victims, trapped under the vast waste pile which is located in the Hulene district of the capital.
“The information we received from local authorities is that the number of people living in those houses exceeds the number of deaths recorded, so work is still ongoing to see if there are any other deaths,” said spokesman Leonilde Pelembe.
The rubbish mound destroyed five homes and rescue teams were still searching through the wreckage to find survivors, he added.
“I live in this neighborhood because I have nowhere to go. Had the government told me to go to another place to live, I would have left here,” said local resident Maria Huo.
Her family home was partially destroyed and her son injured in the landslide, she said.
“It’s been more than 10 years that the dump should have been closed because it’s full – but they still continue to pile trash on the trash. The consequence is this,” said Teresa Mangue, a neighborhood leader.
Heavy rain has been falling on Maputo since Sunday causing damaging homes and deluging roads and schools.