Death toll in Ethiopian garbage dump landslide rises to 65

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ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Parents scrabbled through a towering pile of fetid garbage on Monday, screaming the names of children buried when a mountain of trash collapsed on makeshift homes and killed at least 65 people.

"My babies, my babies, my little daughter," cried one man wandering through the garbage dump in the Ethiopian capital, tears streaming down his face. Neighbors said he had lost his wife and four children.

The landslide late on Saturday destroyed 49 dwellings and left 28 people injured, city spokesman Amare Mekonen said. Residents said dozens were still missing.

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Ethiopian garbage dump landslide

A photo taken on March 12, 2017 shows a view of Addis Ababa from the main landfill on the outskirts of the city, after a landslide at the dump left at least 30 people dead. At least 30 people died and dozens more were hurt in a giant landslide at Ethiopia's largest rubbish dump outside Addis Ababa, a tragedy squatters living there blamed on a biogas plant being built nearby. The landslide late on March 11 saw dozens of homes of people living in the dump levelled after a part of the largest pile of rubbish at the Koshe landfill collapsed, an AFP journalist said.

(ZACHARIAS ABUBEKER/AFP/Getty Images)

A rescue worker holds a photograph of children suspected to be missing at a pile of garbage following a landslide when a mound of trash collapsed on an informal settlement at the Koshe garbage dump in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, March 13, 2017.

(REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)

People look at the damage done to dwellings built near the main landfill of Addis Ababa on the outskirts of the city on March 12, 2017, after a landslide left at least 30 people dead. At least 30 people died and dozens more were hurt in a giant landslide at Ethiopia's largest rubbish dump outside Addis Ababa, a tragedy squatters living there blamed on a biogas plant being built nearby. The landslide late on March 11 saw dozens of homes of people living in the dump levelled after a part of the largest pile of rubbish at the Koshe landfill collapsed, an AFP journalist said. 

(ZACHARIAS ABUBEKER/AFP/Getty Images)

People move their belongings on March 12, 2017 after dwellings built near the main landfill of Addis Ababa on the outskirts of the city were damaged in a landslide that left at least 30 people dead. At least 30 people died and dozens more were hurt in a giant landslide at Ethiopia's largest rubbish dump outside Addis Ababa, a tragedy squatters living there blamed on a biogas plant being built nearby. The landslide late on March 11 saw dozens of homes of people living in the dump levelled after a part of the largest pile of rubbish at the Koshe landfill collapsed, an AFP journalist said. 

(ZACHARIAS ABUBEKER/AFP/Getty Images)

Civilians react as they watch excavators dig into a pile of garbage in search of missing people following a landslide when a mound of trash collapsed on an informal settlement at the Koshe garbage dump in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, March 13, 2017.

(REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)

A photo taken on March 12, 2017 shows a view of the main landfill of Addis Ababa on the outskirts of the city, after a landslide at the dump left at least 30 people dead. At least 30 people died and dozens more were hurt in a giant landslide at Ethiopia's largest rubbish dump outside Addis Ababa, a tragedy squatters living there blamed on a biogas plant being built nearby. The landslide late on March 11 saw dozens of homes of people living in the dump levelled after a part of the largest pile of rubbish at the Koshe landfill collapsed, an AFP journalist said. 

(ZACHARIAS ABUBEKER/AFP/Getty Images)

Excavators move earth as rescuers work at the site of a landslide at the main landfill of Addis Ababa on the outskirts of the city on March 12, 2017. At least 30 people died and dozens more were hurt in a giant landslide at Ethiopia's largest rubbish dump outside Addis Ababa, a tragedy squatters living there blamed on a biogas plant being built nearby. The landslide late on March 11 saw dozens of homes of people living in the dump levelled after a part of the largest pile of rubbish at the Koshe landfill collapsed, an AFP journalist said. 

(ZACHARIAS ABUBEKER/AFP/Getty Images)

Local residents mourn after a landslide that swept through a massive garbage dump, killing at least 46 people and leaving several missing at Koshe rubbish tip in Kolfe Keranio district of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on March 13, 2017. Rescue team continue to search missing people since yesterday.

(Photo by Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Rescue workers watch as excavators dig into a pile of garbage in search of missing people following a landslide when a mound of trash collapsed on an informal settlement at the Koshe garbage dump in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, March 13, 2017.

(REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)

Local residents wait for rescue workers as they search for those buried by a landslide that swept through a massive garbage dump, killing at least 46 people and leaving several missing at Koshe rubbish tip in Kolfe Keranio district of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on March 13, 2017. Rescue team continue to search missing people since yesterday.

(Photo by Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Rescue workers watch as excavators dig into a pile of garbage in search of missing people following a landslide when a mound of trash collapsed on an informal settlement at the Koshe garbage dump in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, March 13, 2017.

(REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)

Civilians watch as excavators dig into a pile of garbage in search of missing people following a landslide when a mound of trash collapsed on an informal settlement at the Koshe garbage dump in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, March 13, 2017.

(REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)

Rescue workers watch as excavators dig into a pile of garbage in search of missing people following a landslide when a mound of trash collapsed on an informal settlement at the Koshe garbage dump in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, March 13, 2017.

(REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)

Policemen and rescue workers watch as excavators dig into a pile of garbage in search of missing people following a landslide when a mound of trash collapsed on an informal settlement at the Koshe garbage dump in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, March 13, 2017.

(REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)

Rescue workers carry the body of a victim recovered out from a pile of garbage following a landslide when a mound of trash collapsed on an informal settlement at the Koshe garbage dump in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, March 13, 2017.

(REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)

A general view shows policemen and rescue workers watching as excavators dig into a pile of garbage in search of missing people following a landslide when a mound of trash collapsed on an informal settlement at the Koshe garbage dump in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, March 13, 2017.

(REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)

Rescue workers watch as excavators dig into a pile of garbage in search of missing people following a landslide when a mound of trash collapsed on an informal settlement at the Koshe garbage dump in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, March 13, 2017.

(REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)

Local residents mourn after a landslide that swept through a massive garbage dump, killing at least 46 people and leaving several missing at Koshe rubbish tip in Kolfe Keranio district of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on March 13, 2017. Rescue team continue to search missing people since yesterday.

(Photo by Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Excavators work after a landslide at a garbage dump on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in this still image taken from a video from March 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Reuters TV)

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Hundreds of people live on the 50-year-old Reppi dump, the city's only landfill site, scavenging for food and items they can sell such as recyclable metal.

On Monday, rescuers used bulldozers to move piles of trash as hundreds of people gathered at the scene, weeping and praying. Some dug through the garbage with their hands.

On one side of the hill, volunteers sobbed as they pulled out three corpses, including a child found on top of its mother.

Meselu Damte said the weeping man had lost his wife and four children.

"Their bodies were found in the morning," she said. "There are still houses that are to be found and many of my neighbors are inside."

ANGER

Diggers used makeshift stretchers of plastic sheets to carry corpses to a single ambulance parked nearby.

Some volunteers expressed anger at the city administration. As well as the two excavators, only three ambulance workers were at the site. Scuffles broke out between them and residents as journalists approached.

"Stop pretending for the cameras!" one resident said.

"We have warned the authorities for more than 10 years as the rubbish piled up. There has not been any response. It is criminal negligence," said Taye Woldeamanuel, a 48-year-old whose sister narrowly survived the landslide.

Ethiopia is one of Africa's fastest-growing economies, but the drive to industrialize has also stoked discontent among those who feel left behind.

In October, the government imposed a national state of emergency after more than 500 people were killed in protests in Oromiya region as anger over a development scheme for the capital sparked broader anti-government demonstrations.

(Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Andrew Roche)


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