MAPUTO – At least 17 people died and several others were injured in Mozambique’s capital early on Monday when a 15-metre pile of garbage collapsed due to heavy rain and buried seven houses, officials said.
The collapse happened at around 3 a.m. (0100 GMT) in the impoverished Hulene neighborhood, which is around 10 km (6 miles) from the center of Maputo. The houses were built illegally and authorities had previously asked the residents to leave, officials said.
“Up to now 17 dead bodies were recovered. We fear more might be unaccounted for. So we will keep searching for bodies buried underneath the garbage pile,” a councillor for Ka Mavota Municipal District, Despedida Rita, told reporters.
Land pressure in many African cities leads some people to squat on land they do not own as they seek higher wages available in urban centers. The dwellings are sometimes built on land that is marginal or unsafe.