A partial collapse of a garbage mound in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, killed 17 people who were buried in the falling debris.
Authorities are continuing to search through the debris and believe that more people could be buried. The pile of garbage was the height of a three-story building, according to Lusa, a Portuguese news agency.
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Lusa and Radio Mocambique both reported 17 deaths. Half a dozen homes were destroyed and some residents in the area fled 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, told Lusa. Authorities are trying to help people who lost their homes, she said.
The Hulene garbage dump is the largest such facility in Maputo. People often comb through the garbage, searching for food and items to sell.
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.