17 killed in Mozambique dump collapse

A 15-meter pile of garbage collapsed at the municipal dump site in Mozambique’s capital Maputo. The slide, caused by heavy rain, buried seven houses and resulted in the loss of 17 lives. (AFP)
Updated 20 February 2018
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17 killed in Mozambique dump collapse

MAPUTO: At least 17 people were killed when a rubbish mound collapsed in a poor district of Mozambique’s capital Maputo, crushing several nearby homes, emergency services said.
Torrential rain is thought to have caused the loose waste to shift and crash down on the shacks, trapping the occupants who were sleeping at the time of the incident on Sunday night.
Mozambique’s emergency service warned there could be more victims, trapped under the vast waste pile which is located in the Hulene district of the capital.
“The information we received from local authorities is that the number of people living in those houses exceeds the number of deaths recorded, so work is still ongoing to see if there are any other deaths,” said spokesman Leonilde Pelembe.
The rubbish mound destroyed five homes and rescue teams were still searching through the wreckage to find survivors, he added.
“I live in this neighborhood because I have nowhere to go. Had the government told me to go to another place to live, I would have left here,” said local resident Maria Huo.
Her family home was partially destroyed and her son injured in the landslide, she said.
“It’s been more than 10 years that the dump should have been closed because it’s full — but they still continue to pile trash on the trash. The consequence is this,” said Teresa Mangue, a neighborhood leader.
Heavy rain has been falling on Maputo since Sunday causing damaging homes and deluging roads and schools.


On World Refugee Day, Afghans in Pakistan fear deportation

Updated 5 min 24 sec ago
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On World Refugee Day, Afghans in Pakistan fear deportation

  • Islamabad has set June 30 as the deadline for Afghan refugees to return to their country
  • Nearly 4.2 million Afghans have been repatriated to their native country since 2002, according to the UN refugee agency

PESHAWAR: Rasool Khan, 40, and his four siblings were born in Pakistan, his family having moved there immediately after the former Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1978.
Both his grandfather and father were merchants and frequently visited Pakistan. “My father used to visit Pakistan for business, but in the 1970s he permanently moved there because of the war in Afghanistan,” Khan said.
But Pakistan has set June 30 as the deadline for Afghan refugees to leave the country. Khan, a representative of Afghan traders in the Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce, said there should be a separate policy for students, businesspeople and Afghans married to Pakistani women.
“It’s not fair to deal with all Afghans under the same policy of deportation and repatriation,” he added.
With World Refugee Day being observed on June 20, Afghans living in Pakistan hope that the deadline will be extended.
Abdul Hameed, director of the Afghan Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations, said Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhawa (KP) province hosts 1.1 million Afghan refugees.
Based in KP’s capital Peshawar, he expressed hope that Pakistan’s caretaker government will extend the stay of Afghan refugees.
“Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan are improving, and both sides are in touch on the refugee issue,” he told Arab News.
The director general of the Commissionerate for Afghan Refugees in KP, Waqar Maroof, said Islamabad is considering adopting a separate policy for Afghan students, traders and those married to Pakistani women.
“Once KP’s Interior Ministry gives the go-ahead, we’ll implement the plan,” he told Arab News.
Qaiser Khan Afridi, spokesman in Pakistan for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said 4.2 million Afghans have been repatriated to their native country since 2002.
“Pakistan is the second-largest refugee host country (in the world), and it is hosting around 1.4 million Afghan registered refugees at the moment,” he added.
Islamabad says there are more than 1 million Afghans living in Pakistan without proper documentation.
“We want Afghan refugees to stay in Pakistan with legal and valid documents,” said Maroof. “Afghans who were repatriated to their native country want to come to Pakistan on a valid visa and passport so they can stay here legally.”
Khan fears losing the business he and his father built over the last four decades if he is forced to go to Afghanistan.
His friend Masham Khan moved there a few months ago, but returned to Pakistan after getting a visa because “there isn’t enough business activity” in Afghanistan.