Massive Garbage Avalanche Kills 17 In Mozambique [PHOTOS]

Published February 19, 2018
Published February 19, 2018

Rainfall caused a high piled garbage dump in Mozambique, Africa, to partially collapse, killing at least 17 people.

Rubble Garbage

EPAResidents try and clear the rubble.

At least 17 people have been killed in Mozambique, a country in South-East Africa, after heavy rain led to the collapse of a rubbish dump.

First reported by the Associated Press, the collapse happened six miles outside the country’s capital of Maputo at the Hulene garbage dump at 3 a.m local time on Feb. 19, 2018.

The Hulene dump is Maputo’s only official dump, and it is located in a poor, densely populated neighborhood.

Machine Garbage

EPAHeavy machinery was brought in to help with rescue efforts.

The garbage was reportedly around 15 meters high, or roughly 50 feet, which is about the height of a three-story building.

Though 17 deaths have been recorded by the landslide debris, a search for more bodies is ongoing. There is concern that the death toll will continue to rise.

“We fear more might be unaccounted for. So we will keep searching for bodies buried underneath the rubbish pile,” said Despedida Rita, who works for the Ka Mavota Municipal District.

Garbage Rescue

Ferhat Momade/APRescuers and residents at the scene.

It is also common for people to search the landfill site in search of either food or items that they can potentially sell.

“The mountains of garbage collapsed on the houses and many families were still inside these residences,” said Fatima Belchoir, who is a national disaster official.

Meanwhile, those who live nearby have fled in fear of another collapse. Seven houses were also destroyed in the accident.

Mozambique Rubbish Collapse

CBS/Associated PressA family at the scene of the disaster.

There are reports which say the houses in the area were built illegally and that residents had previously been asked to leave. On the other side of things, municipal officials have discussed closing the dump in the past, as health workers had raised concerns about the hazards it imposed on the surrounding community.

Throughout Africa, it is not uncommon for people to squat on land that is considered unsafe due to land pressure.

The accident in Mozambique is similar to one that happened in Ethiopia in 2017, after a garbage dump landslide killed over 100 people.

Next read about the terrible conditions children at the Anlong Pi Dump face. Then lern about Sweden’s answer to our growing garbage crisis.

Kara Goldfarb
Kara Goldfarb is a writer living in New York City.