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Ethiopian landslide puts focus on landfill squatters

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Ethiopian landslide puts focus on landfill squatters

Post by Harry on Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:03 am

Ethiopian landslide puts focus on landfill squatters

By Briana Duggan, Ryan Prior and Joe Sterling, CNN

Updated 1717 GMT (0117 HKT) March 13, 2017
Landslide at landfill kills dozens

Source: CNN
Landslide at landfill kills dozens 00:44
Story highlights

The landslide killed more than 60 people
The government had been trying to resettle people living in the area

(CNN)The deaths of more than 60 people in a landslide Saturday night at a massive landfill in Ethiopia's capital gave urgency to a festering problem: the fate of the hundreds who live in the makeshift houses on top of the garbage outside Addis Ababa.
The landfill is called Koshe, which means "dust." It's been around for decades, servicing the sprawling and growing capital.

"It's a sad story because the government has been trying to resettle the people residing in the area," Communications Minister Negeri Lencho said. The government had also been building a factory to convert waste products at the landfill into energy, he said.
Riders on the storm: Ethiopia bids to become wind capital of Africa
Riders on the storm: Ethiopia bids to become wind capital of Africa
Fisseha Tekle, the chief researcher for Amnesty International in Ethiopia, said the government claims it has been developing for the last decade, "but it was not able to take residents out of this deplorable situation," he said.
And, he said, there had been no concrete action to remove the people from this area prior to this incident.
The smells permeate the landfill and nearby areas. Small fires erupt because of the methane gas the decomposing trash produces.
"And those people are living in the middle of that location. It's not a landfill anymore, it's like a mountain," Tekle said. "Whatever kind of country you are, you cannot let people live in this situation."
Tekle said the government should resettle the people and do an "accountability investigation."
The government is "fully responsible for the people living on this site and for their condition of those people who died, and for their lack of safety," he said.
Dwellings shown after a landslide in the main city dump of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on March 12, 2017.
Dwellings shown after a landslide in the main city dump of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on March 12, 2017.
Along with the dead, dozens were injured in the landslide, Lencho said. Video showed crews with heavy equipment at the scene scraping and digging through the debris and shots of flimsy and upended dwellings.
Investigators were trying to determine the cause and security personnel were still searching for people who have been reported missing in the landslide, Lencho said.
Authorities are working to find housing for the families affected.
The government has transferred 290 people who were living on the landfill, but who were not injured in the accident, to a temporary shelter in a youth center in Addis Ababa.
Many people at the landfill were "frantically looking for friends and family," Hope for Korah, a Canadian NGO that assists people living in the area near the dump, said on its Facebook page.
Some of the people who were trapped in the landslide tried to call authorities to get help from inside the debris, the group said.
One woman and her three children managed to scramble to safety just as their home became caught up in the landslide, according to the NGO.
A similar landslide occurred in December 2015 at a waste dump in Shenzhen, China, killing 58.

Briana Duggan reported from Nairobi, Kenya, and Ryan Prior and Joe Sterling wrote from Atlanta.

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