Members of the Sri Lankan military work have joined the rescue effort after the landslide (Reuters: Dinuka Liyanawatte)
A rubbish dump landslide in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo has killed at least 16 and injured more than a dozen, military spokesman and hospital officials said, as emergency workers dug into the mountain of trash in search of survivors.
- Four teenagers are among the dead, a nurse says
- Police say 145 houses damaged
- Dump collapsed after flames engulfed it
The estimated 91-metre dump collapsed after flames engulfed it late on Friday, the country’s traditional new year’s day, and witnesses said around 100 houses could have been buried.
The death toll rose to 16 as more bodies were discovered, army spokesman Roshan Senivirathna said.
At least four teenagers were among the dead, a nurse at the main Colombo hospital said.
“We heard a massive sound. It was like thunder. Tiles in our house got cracked. Black water started coming in,” said Kularathna, who lives near the dump.
“We tried to get out but we were trapped inside. We shouted for help and were rescued later.”
Another resident, Mohamed, said three of his neighbours were missing and estimated that more than 100 people could have been buried.
Rescue operations continued for a second day on Saturday with soldiers using heavy equipment to remove the garbage.
Police said about 145 houses had been damaged, but they did not say how many had been buried.
Residents of the area, mostly living in shanties, have been demanding the removal of the dump saying it was causing health issues.
The Government had planned to remove it soon under an infrastructure plan.