ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - The death toll from a landslide at a dump in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa has reached 113, officials said on Wednesday, as the government declared three days of national mourning.
Flags flew at half mast to mark the disaster that occurred at the 50-year-old Reppi dump on Saturday evening.
“The total number of dead has reached 113, of which 38 are male and 75 are female,” said Dagmawit Moges, a spokeswoman for the city.
“At least 80 other residents are missing,” said Temesghen Abraham, a resident at the landfill. “We expect to find their corpses buried here.”
The first funerals were held on Tuesday at the nearby Abune Aregawi Church, attended by hundreds of grief-stricken family members.
“Searches are taking place and the number could rise,” Moges said.
Hundreds of people live on the dump, the city’s only landfill site. Some of the victims scavenged for food and items that could be sold, such as recyclable metal. The landslide destroyed dozens of homes.
Ethiopia is one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, but the drive to industrialize has also stoked discontent among those who feel left behind.
In October, the government imposed a national state of emergency after more than 500 people were killed in protests in Oromiya region as anger over a development scheme sparked broader anti-government demonstrations.
Editing by Katharine Houreld and Robin Pomeroy