Killed in Sri Lanka Garbage Dump Collapse

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In Sri Lanka, the death toll due to collapse of garbage dump in capital Colombo has risen up to 29 even as at least 30 are still missing. Gen. Sudantha Ranasinghe, who is heading the rescue efforts, said 78 houses were destroyed and more than 150 were damaged.

It came as the country celebrated the traditional new year and followed a warning to parliament that the 23 million tonnes of rotting garbage posed a serious health hazard.

The tragedy occurred on Friday evening as people were celebrating the local new year.

Pradeep Kodippili, a spokesman for the DMC, said the number of missing was revised down after going through information on the area residents from government offices.

Twenty-four people, including four children, were killed and 11 others injured, officials said.

Around 50 to 100 houses were completely destroyed, said attorney Nuwan Bopage.

The prime minister over the weekend vowed to shut down the dump, which has absorbed much of Colombo's garbage for several years as much of the capital has undergone extensive renovations.

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Numerous residents near the dump live in shanties and they have been calling for its removal, saying it was causing health problems.

Wickremesinghe said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offered help with the recovery effort and a technical team would be sent to Sri Lanka to evaluate the situation.

People affected by a garbage dump collapse salvage their belongings in Meetotamulla, on the outskirts of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Saturday, April 15, 2017.

In the event of any further collapse of the garbage dump, people living in vulnerable parts along the garbage dump may temporarily be evacuated in order to prevent another disaster while troops will continue with the relief operations.

A Sri Lankan woman who lost her family members in a garbage dump collapse cries.

. The government had said it would remove it soon, under an infrastructure plan.

One disaster emergency official told AFP the death toll would have been higher had many people not left their homes after the fire at the dump, hours before the collapse.