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  • Ethiopia declares three days of national mourning after landslide kills 65 people

    (by Andegna) The House of Peoples Representatives of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has declared, Tuesday, three days of mourning after a landslide at old rubbish dump in Addis Ababa killing at least 65 people. The Flag shall be flown at half-mast starting from Wednesday.

    The death toll has kept to increase as relatives are waiting for news of other missing.

    Dozens of homes of squatters who lived in the Koshe landfill site, in Addis Ababa, were flattened when the largest pile of rubbish collapsed on Saturday. It was not clear what caused Saturday night's collapse. Koshe means “dust” in local slang.

    Image: Searching for survivors - Koshe

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  • Rights group blames gov’t for dozens of deaths at rubbish dump

    Amnesty Internationalblamed Ethiopian government for the death of more than 60 people in a landslide at a vast rubbish dump in Addis Ababa over the weekend.

    It is a clear case of dereliction of duty by the Ethiopian authorities, said Amnesty International in statement on Monday. Dozens are still missing since the landslide at the 36-hectare Repi municipal dumpsite in Addis Ababa on 11 March, and many families have been left homeless after their makeshift houses were buried under tons of waste.

    “The Ethiopian government is fully responsible for this totally preventable disaster. It was aware that the landfill was full to capacity but continued to use it regardless. It also let hundreds of people continue to live in close proximity to it,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International's Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.  

    “These people, including many women and children, had no option but to live and work in such a hazardous environment because of the government’s failure to protect their right to adequate housing, and decent work.”

    Now in its fifth decade, Repi – also known as Koshe, which means “dust” - is the oldest landfill in Addis Ababa, a city of more than 3.6 million people. More than 150 people were at the site when the landslide happened. Many of them had been scavenging items for sale while others lived there permanently, in unsafe makeshift housing.

    “The government must do everything in its power to account for all those who are missing, provide survivors with adequate alternative housing, and safe and healthy working conditions,” said Muthoni Wanyeki.

    “It must also ensure that a full-fledged inquiry is held to determine the specific causes of the landslide, and hold the individual officials responsible to account.”

    Image: Amnesty International

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  • Death toll reaches 62 in Koshe tragedy

    (by Andegna) At least 62 people have been dead in a giant landslide at old rubbish dump in Addis Ababa, confirmed sources on Monday evening, Ethiopian time. However, non-official sources claim death toll could be much higher. The search for survivors and more bodies has continued as relatives are waiting for news of those still missing.   

    Dozens of homes of squatters who lived in the Koshe landfill site, in Addis Ababa, were flattened when the largest pile of rubbish collapsed on Saturday. It was not clear what caused Saturday night's collapse, though residents have said the dumping of trash had resumed there in recent months after protests at a newer Sendafa Sanitary Landfill.

    Koshe, whose name means “dirt” in local slang, was closed last year by city authorities who asked people to move to a new dump site outside Addis Ababa. But the community there did not want the landfill, and so the garbage collectors moved back. Last year, farmers in Sendafa Landfill, the new waste disposal and recycling centre of the city, refused to allow garbage to be dumped in the area. A tragedy squatters living there blamed on a biogas plant being built nearby.

    Many of the victims were squatters who scavenged for a living in the 30-hectare dump, officials said. Hundreds of waste-pickers work at the landfill every day, and others find cheap housing there. Many of the mud-and-stick houses were buried under the rubble, and dozens of people so far have received medical treatment, it was learned from the nearby ALERT Hospital where the injured have been taken. 

    Image: Sky News

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  • Death toll reaches 50 in Koshe landslide

    (by Andegna) At least 50 people have died and dozens more are said to be missing in a giant landslide at Ethiopia’s old rubbish dump in Addis Ababa. The death toll has been confirmed by officials on Monday as relatives are waiting for news of other missing.

    Dozens of homes of squatters who lived in the Koshe landfill site, on the outskirts of the capital, were flattened when the largest pile of rubbish collapsed on Saturday. It was not clear what caused Saturday night's collapse, though residents have said the dumping of trash had resumed there in recent months after protests at a newer Sendafa Sanitary Landfill.

    Koshe, whose name means “dirt” in local slang, was closed last year by city authorities who asked people to move to a new dump site outside Addis Ababa. But the community there did not want the landfill, and so the garbage collectors moved back. Last year, farmers in Sendafa Landfill, the new waste disposal and recycling centre of the city, refused to allow garbage to be dumped in the area. A tragedy squatters living there blamed on a biogas plant being built nearby.

    Many of the victims were squatters who scavenged for a living in the 30-hectare dump, officials said. Hundreds of waste-pickers work at the landfill every day, and others find cheap housing there. Many of the mud-and-stick houses were buried under the rubble, and dozens of people so far have received medical treatment, it was learned from the nearby ALERT Hospital where the injured have been taken.  

    Image: The Telegraph

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  • Ethiopian runner makes protest sign as he crosses line in Rio

    An Olympic marathon runner from Ethiopia staged a daring protest against his home government when he crossed the line in Rio on Sunday.

    As he took the silver medal, Feyisa Lilesa crossed his arms above - a gesture made by the Oromo people who have suffered brutal police crackdowns.

    Lilesa is from Oromia, home to most of Ethiopia's 35 million Oromo people.

    He repeated the protest gesture later at a press conference, saying his life would be in danger if he returned home.

    Human rights groups say that Ethiopian security forces have killed hundreds of people in recent weeks as they crack down on anti-government protests.

    Explaining his actions, Lilesa said: "The Ethiopian government are killing the Oromo people and taking their land and resources so the Oromo people are protesting and I support the protest as I am Oromo.

    "The Ethiopian government is killing my people so I stand with all protests anywhere as Oromo is my tribe. My relatives are in prison and if they talk about democratic rights they are killed. I raised my hands to support with the Oromo protest."

    The marathon runner said that he might be killed if he returned.

    "If not kill me, they will put me in prison," he said. "I have not decided yet, but maybe I will move to another country."

    Asked if he was worried about being sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), he said: "I cannot do anything about that. This was my feeling. I have a big problem in my country, it is very dangerous to make protest in my country."

    Rule 50 of the Olympic charter bans political displays or protests and the American duo of Tommie Smith and John Carlos were famously stripped of their medals after the pair flashed the black power salute on the medal stand at the 1968 Summer Games.

    There has been a wave of protests in Ethiopia in recent months over a series of frustrations, including attempts by the governments to reallocate land in the Oromo and Amhara regions. Read more 

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