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Sri Lanka garbage collapse toll hits 11

ECONOMYNEXT – Five more people died at the Colombo National Hospital overnight, raising the death toll to 11 from the Kolonnawa garbage dump disaster, officials said Saturday.

Colombo National Hospital spokeswoman Pushpa Ramya Soysa said a total of 21 people were brought to the accident service. A total of 11 have now died, with five people succumbing to their injuries on Friday night. Among the dead were two boys and two girls aged between 11 and 15 years, she added.

Police said 145 homes had been destroyed in Friday’s garbage dump collapse at Kolonnawa. The authorities have temporarily relocated 625 people from 180 families who lived in the neighbourhood.

Hundreds of soldiers kept up a search Saturday for possible survivors trapped under tonnes of rubbish.

The tragedy struck as the country celebrated the traditional new year shared by both the majority Sinhalese and the minority Tamils.

There was a smaller scale garbage slip in February last year when three homes were buried.

Since then, residents have been protesting about the dangers to the neighbourhood and environmental damage as a result of the open dump to which some 800 tonnes of solid waste is added daily.

The parliament was told recently that the Kolonnawa dump had over 23 million tonnes of garbage dumped over the years. (COLOMBO, April 15, 2017)

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