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Sierra Leone News: “Garbage-slide” buries metal scavenger

A wall of garbage collapsed in the morning of Thursday 23rd August 2018, trapping a metal collector in Granville Brook, just below the Kissy Road bomeh dump. Rescue attempts continued through Thursday and Friday with no success. Heavy rains on Saturday and Sunday hampered further recovery efforts. Persistent “garbage-slides” have continued to bury the body deeper under a growing sea of waste.
Abdul “Razor Blade” Bangura, a 27-year old father of one, is still missing and assumed to be the suspected victim in the collapsed garbage. His body is yet to be recovered but people living in the area, including his family, are certain that he is dead and buried under the trash.
The piles of trash rise up to 25-metres, as high as a three-storied building. The Granville Brook waterway flows through the dump site and runs between the towering cliffs of garbage through an informal community of thousands of people living in largely makeshift structures of zinc and sticks. The smell is overpowering. The decaying mountains of unsorted waste – hazardous and toxic – is a monumental disaster waiting to happen.
Officers from the Ross Road Police Station responded to the dumpsite on Thursday 23rd August 2018 and spoke to witnesses. Operations Police officer stated that the investigation of the accident is still ongoing and will likely be completed by the end of the week.
In August 2017, almost exactly a year ago, a 30-year old man was buried and killed in a similar “trash-flood”. According to the Police, two brothers were scavenging for metals when the cliffs of garbage shifted and fell. The avalanche of garbage and debris injured one brother and swept away the other resulting in his death.
Police have warned people and residents from venturing into the trash canyon but numerous people continue to scavenge, knee-deep in wastewater, panning for metals, in the shadow of the garbage-slide.
JR/8/28/18
By Jack Russillo
Wednesday August 29, 2018.

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