Ethiopia declares 3-day mourning for 72 victims in garbage dump landslide

The Ethiopian parliament on Tuesday declared a three-day national morning for its 72 citizens who lost their lives after a massive landslide hit a landfill at the outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.

During the three-day national mourning period, from March 15 to 17, the country’s flags will fly at half mast.

Even though the hope of finding missing residents alive is almost unlikely, many more bodies could still be found as the search continues “day and night” at the site where the landslide occurred, according to Dagmawit Moges, Head of Addis Ababa City Administration Communication Affairs Office.

According to Dagmawit, the city administration, in an effort to avoid the impact of similar other tragic incidents, has already evacuated 320 inhabitants from the area. A committee particularly designated to properly respond to the crisis has been also established by the municipality.

As the death toll increased from the initial 15 to 72, the city administration has organized a public funeral and memorial service for victims of the tragic accident. Accordingly, thousands of Addis Ababa residents have attended the mass funeral held late on Monday for 31 of the victims, while another round for the remaining bodies is scheduled for Tuesday.

Hundreds of emergency personnel comprised from the Addis Ababa city Fire and Emergency Prevention and Rescue Agency and Addis Ababa Police Commission are also undertaking humanitarian activities at the site where the landslide occurred.

Dagmawit, however, noted that since almost all residents in the area are informal settlers, the number of people missing has not been yet confirmed.

The condition at the 50-year old landfill is said to be a bigger challenge for emergency personnel who are working “day and night” to save the lives of those residents who are missing.

The massive landslide that occurred at 8 pm on Saturday has buried and damaged several buildings in the area, while many of the residents were inside their houses during the landslide.

The 36 hectare municipal landfill, called “Koshe”, in Ethiopia’s capital is home for a number of Addis Ababa dwellers who were apparently victim of a number of landslides over the years including the latest one on Saturday night.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the People’s Republic of China