31 residents buried alive in tragedy at Colombo's rubbish dump

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31 residents buried alive in tragedy at Colombo's rubbish dump

By Shanika Sriyananda | 18 Apr 2017

Colombo, Apr 18 (IBNS): Over 1000 military rescue workers are still digging debris from the landslide which struck at the massive rubbish dump in the country’s capital – Colombo-, which buried 30 people alive on April 14.

It was the country’s New Year day noon when the 90-metre open rubbish dump, in which over 800 tonnes of garbage from the capital dumped daily, collapsed triggered by a fire at the part of the dump.

According to the Military Spokesman Brig. Roshan Seneviratne, the search and rescue operations are continuing while there is uncertainty about any survivors after the fourth day of collapsing the dump.

“ We lack information about people present at the location at that time. Following some clues the rescue workers had to dig over 20-feet to look for survivors,” he said.

There are six children among the dead who were buried alive. The Disaster Management Centre says that nearly 625 people of 180 families are displaced and 145 houses damaged due to the landslide.

Residents and survivors blaming the politicians for the tragedy urged politicians not to visit the area after the disaster.

“ They come to see us now to get political mileages. Before the disaster happened, we protested several times but then they were deaf and blind,” angry residents protested saying when the Minister of Law and Order Sagala Ratnayake visited the areas.

N. Keerthiratne, the Convenor of the 'People Movement Against the Meethotamulla Dump', said that he has lost the battle.

“ I have lost my three children and wife. I have no place to live as my two story house is buried under rubble,” he said adding that he is compelled to live as his grandson has survived.

The retired prison official, Keerthiratne, who was once remanded after leading a  protest campaign against dumping garbage last year, cried.

Brig. Seneviratne told the India Blooms that survivals are very unlikely but until the military get instructions to half, the rescue operations will be continuing.

Following President Maithripala Sirisena’s directives, the finance ministry has taken steps to pay compensation for the victims and also for the damages for properties.

Meanwhile, some residents accused the politicians in the area for engaging in ‘garbage business’ as they some of them are owned the garbage trucks to deliver rubbish to the dump.

“ There were over 60 good proposals submitted by various private companies to implement solid waste management projects to Colombo’s waste disposal problem. But they, including those politicians and some of the top officials, have blocked the projects as they have profits from the business,” the Organizer of the People’s Movement Lawyer Nuwan Bopage charged.

 

31 residents buried alive in tragedy at Colombo's rubbish dump

By Shanika Sriyananda
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