Colombo, April 15: At least 16 persons died after a rubbish dump collapsed and buried their homes under tonnes of garbage outside the Sri Lankan capital, officials said.
"Sixteen people died and seven were injured after the collapse of the Meethotamulla rubbish dump," a worker at the Sri Lanka Disaster Management Centre told Efe news.
The 300-feet-high pile had shifted after floods and a fire, and subsequently collapsed on Friday evening onto homes located around the dump, where some 600 people lived, the official said.
Rescue and emergency services were still working in the area.
According to reports, over 60 houses were damaged, with some witnesses saying more than 100 homes were destroyed.
Several others were admitted to hospital for treatment and over 180 people have been displaced, officials said.
Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena instructed the Disaster Management Centre to provide assistance to the affected families.
The residents of the area have been protesting over the past several months urging the authorities to move the garbage to another location.