A huge refuse heap said to be 15m (49ft) high collapsed this morning following the heavy rains, killing 17 people and crushing several homes in Hulene district of Maputo, capital of Mozambique.
Hulene district of Maputo, said to be one of the poorest parts of the capital have been experiencing heavy rainfall since Sunday, and the aftermath was the collapse of the refuse heap while people were sleeping inside.
Half a dozen homes are destroyed and some residents in the area are fleeing, for fear of another collapse.
“The mountains of garbage collapsed on the houses and many families were still inside these residences,” Fatima Belchoir, a national disaster official, tells Portuguese news agency Lusa. Authorities are trying to help people who lost their homes, she says.
The Hulene garbage dump is the largest such facility in Maputo. People often comb through the garbage, searching for food and items to sell.
AP reports that health workers have long raised concerns about the impact of the fumes, flies, and other hazards of the dump on the surrounding community. Municipal officials have previously discussed the closure of the dump.
One local resident whose son was injured in the landslide, Maria Huo, said:
“I live in this neighbourhood because I have nowhere to go. Had the government told me to go to another place to live, I would have left here.”
The city of Maputo has experienced heavy rainfall since Sunday, which has damaged homes and flooded roads.
In the poorer suburbs of cities such as Maputo, people sometimes live on land they do not own in the hope of finding work. The dwellings can be built on land that is unsafe.
Mozambique, a scenic country in southeastern Africa, with an extensive coastline, fronting the Mozambique Channel, which separates mainland Africa from the island of Madagascar, and offers some of Africa’s best natural harbours.