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Ethiopian government blamed for "preventable" disaster at rubbish dump

Ethiopian government blamed for "preventable" disaster at rubbish dump

Ethiopia

Over 60 people have died after a landslide at a rubbish dump on the outskirts of Addis Ababa on Saturday, and Amnesty International holds the Ethiopian government fully responsible.

The human rights advocates said in a statement on Monday that the authorities were aware of the danger posed by the oldest landfill but continued to use it.

“The Ethiopian government is fully responsible for this totally preventable disaster. It was aware that the landfill was full to capacity but continued to use it regardless. It also let hundreds of people continue to live in close proximity to it,” it said.

The Ethiopian government is fully responsible for this totally preventable disaster. It was aware that the landfill was full to capacity but continued to use it regardless. It also let hundreds of people continue to live in close proximity to it.

As at Tuesday morning, the death toll rose to 72 as more bodies were being discovered at the 5-decade old 36-hectare Repi municipal dumpsite also known as Koshe.

The collapse pulled down about thirty makeshift houses belonging to people living on the landfill leaving many families homeless.

“The government must do everything in its power to account for all those who are missing, provide survivors with adequate alternative housing, and safe and healthy working conditions,” Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Muthoni Wanyeki said.

She also called for an inquiry to “determine the specific causes of the landslide, and hold the individual officials responsible to account.”

The Ethiopian authorities organized a funeral for some of the victims on Monday and on Tuesday, parliament declared three days of national mourning beginning Wednesday.

Addis Ababa’s city authorities have also announced ongoing rehabilitation efforts to relocate hundreds of affected families from the landfill.

The African Union, headquartered in the capital, called on residents to remain calm as people are being retrieved from the dump.

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