Rubbish dump collapse kills 17 in Mozambique
21 February 2018
Several hours of torrential rains early Monday triggered the collapse of a refuse dump in Hulene, an impoverished district on the outskirts of capital city Maputo, resulting in a 15-meter (49 ft.) tall mountain of rubbish plunging down and burying several homes. Seventeen were killed, including several children, and a number of others were injured.
The heavy rains beginning Sunday night, which continued into the early hours of Monday, caused flooding in various areas of Maputo, making several roads impassable. Multiple schools and businesses suffered flood damage and were closed.
The garbage dump at Hulene is one of the largest refuse disposal sites in Maputo, and, according to the Portuguese news agency Lusa, the dump reached the height of a three-story building. Experiencing extreme poverty, many local residents visit the dump in search of food or items to salvage and sell.
Many homes that were affected by the collapse and flooding were located down the hill from the refuse dump. In describing the destruction of the collapse, Fatima Belchior, a national disaster official, said, “The mountains of garbage collapsed on the houses and many families were still inside these residences.”
Hulene resident Mario Castigo told Voice of America a heart-wrenching account: “I heard people screaming. I was alone, I couldn’t help. The water sliding pushed the trash, and it covered the houses down the hill. It took the lives of families, children.”
Illustrating the contempt of the city government towards the population of Hulene, in the days leading up to the collapse, authorities declared makeshift dwellings in Hulene “illegal structures” and ordered the inhabitants to vacate them immediately….