March 16 (UPI) — The death toll has risen to 113 after a massive landslide at a landfill near the Ethiopian capital buried a slum’s ramshackle housing, local officials said.
Ethiopian Communications Minister Negeri Lencho said workers are still digging through the massive pile of decaying garbage days after the landslide in an effort to recover more victims. He said the effort would continue overnight and for at least another day.
“The amount (that) collapsed, it is deep, it takes time,” he told CNN.
The landslide happened Sunday.
Hundreds of Ethiopians had built shacks atop the mountain of refuse, which unexpectedly gave way Wednesday for reasons officials have yet to explain.
The landfill, known as Koshe, the Ethiopian word for “dust,” has been around for more than 50 years and services the capital Addis Ababa and the surrounding area, home to 5 million people. The government has been trying to resettle the people living atop it for some time. Impoverished residents there scour the rubbish for items they can sell.
Some 350 permanent residents at the landfill have been relocated since the incident, officials told the BBC.
The government declared three official days of mourning in the wake of the incident.