At least 17 people have died in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, on Monday after heavy rains caused a massive, three-story tall garbage pile to collapse. Victims were buried by debris and half a dozen homes in the surrounding area were destroyed, according to the Associated Press.
The Hulene landfill is the largest trash disposal facility in Maputo, and health officials have cautioned of the dump's environmental and health hazards in the past, yet nothing has been done to improve the safety of the area. National Disaster official Fatima Belchoir stated, "The mountains of garbage collapsed on the houses and many families were still inside these residences." Located in the outskirts of Mozambique's capital, the landfill attracted many of the impoverished residents of the area in search of "food or items to sell," AP says.
As of now, the official death toll is at 17, but authorities believe it is possible that more bodies are buried underneath the piles of debris.
This story is developing.