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  • Death toll from rubbish dump landslide in Ethiopia rises to 65

     

    Rescue workers search 74-acre site for survivors, with residents blaming construction of biogas plant for disaster

    At least 65 people were killed in a giant landslide at Ethiopia’s largest rubbish dump this weekend, officials said on Monday, with entire families including children buried alive in the tragedy.

    “The rescue operation is still ongoing. Security personnel and rescuers are trying their level best to locate any possible survivors, while searching for the dead,” said communication minister Negeri Lencho.

    Police and firefighters combing a “vast area” at the dump outside Addis Ababa found bodies throughout the day, Lencho said.

    The disaster on Saturday at the dump flattened dozens of the homes of people living in the Koshe dump when part of the largest pile of rubbish collapsed.

    “The number of dead has reached 65,” said Dagmawit Moges, head of the city communications bureau.

    Many of the victims were squatters who scavenged for a living in the 30-hectare (74-acre) dump.

    “Those at the top [of the dump] were taken by this pile, because it split and people could not make [their] way out of this debris,” Lencho said, adding that most of the dead recovered were women and children.

    The landfill is the country’s largest and home to perhaps hundreds of people who collected recyclables that were trucked in from neighbourhoods around the city of about 4 million people.

    The government tried last year to close the dump and shift it to a new location, but opposition from residents at the new site scuttled the plan.

    Residents blamed a biogas plant being constructed on top of the rubbish for causing the collapse. They said work by bulldozers to flatten the area around the plant contributed to it.

    Lencho said the cause was still being investigated, but denied that the plant’s construction had anything to do with the collapse. He blamed the squatters for digging into the hillside, destabilising it and causing it to fall.

    All the shacks built on the landfill would be demolished and the residents resettled elsewhere, he said.

    Excavators move earth as rescuers work at the site of the landslide
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     Excavators move earth as rescuers work at the site of the landslide Photograph: Zacharias Abubeker/AFP/Getty Images

    But Amnesty International said the government was fully responsible for the disaster. “It was aware that the landfill was full to capacity but continued to use it regardless. It also let hundreds of people continue to live in close proximity to it,” the group’s Muthoni Wanyeki said in a statement.

    “These people, including many women and children, had no option but to live and work in such a hazardous environment because of the government’s failure to protect their right to adequate housing, and decent work.”

    Ibrahim Mohammed, a day labourer living at the landfill whose house narrowly escaped destruction, said on Sunday the disaster happened in three minutes. He estimated that more than 300 people lived on the landfill.

    For more than 40 years the Koshe site has been the main garbage dump for the rapidly growing city of Addis Ababa. People had built the houses about two to three years ago, said Berhanu Degefe, a rubbish collector who lives at the dump but whose home was not destroyed.

    “Their livelihood depends on the trash. They collect from here and they live here,” Degefe said, referring to the victims and other squatters. “This part, all of it went down,” he said, gesturing at a huge chunk of the hill that suddenly slid. Degefe said they were levelling ground for the plant, increasing pressure on the hillside and causing the collapse.

    Koshe, whose name means “dirt” in local slang, was closed last year by city authorities who asked people to move to the new dump site outside Addis Ababa. But the community there did not want the landfill, and so the garbage collectors moved back.

    theguardian.com

     

     

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  • Ramadan 2017 likely to start on May 27

     

    The Holy month of Ramadan begins with a new moon sighting, marking the start of the ninth month in the Islamic calendar.

    The fasting hours during the Holy month of Ramdan are set to begin from May 27, 2017 and are expected to end on June 24, based on moon sighting reports.

    Ramadan ends when the first crescent of the new moon is sighted again. Eid Al Fitr is the Islamic holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.

    In the UAE, work days are usually shortened by two hours during Ramadan. 

     

     

    Ramdan consists of fasting from dawn to sunset. Muslims all over the world fast during the days of this month and make special prayers at night. The month of Ramadan traditionally begins with a new moon sighting, marking the start of the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. They abstain from food, drink, and certain other activities during daylight hours in Ramadan. (Read: Ramadan: Dos and don'ts for non-Muslims)

    Although Ramadan is always on the same day of the Islamic calendar, the date on the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year, since the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar and the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar. This difference means Ramadan moves in the Gregorian calendar approximately 11 days every year.

    The date of Ramadan may also vary from country to country depending on whether the moon has been sighted or not. The duration of daily fast depends on the amount of hours between sunrise and sunset, which is affected by which season Ramadan falls on.

    During summer months, those observing the month of Ramadan have to fast longer hours due to the longer days, which vary in length depending on the country they live in.

    Haj: Significance of the fifth pillar of Islam

    During summer months, those observing the month of Ramadan have to fast longer hours due to the longer days, which vary in length depending on the country they live in.

    Haj: Significance of the fifth pillar of Islam

    Here's the complete calendar for the holy month of Ramadan, according to iacad.gov.ae

    Ramadan Weekday Gregorian date
    1 Saturday 5/27/17
    2 Sunday 5/28/17
    3 Monday 5/29/17
    4 Tuesday 5/30/17
    5 Wednesday 5/31/17
    6 Thursday 6/1/17
    7 Friday 6/2/17
    8 Saturday 6/3/17
    9 Sunday 6/4/17
    10 Monday 6/5/17
    11 Tuesday 6/6/17
    12 Wednesday 6/7/17
    13 Thursday 6/8/17
    14 Friday 6/9/17
    15 Saturday 6/10/17
    16 Sunday 6/11/17
    17 Monday 6/12/17
    18 Tuesday 6/13/17
    19 Wednesday 6/14/17
    20 Thursday 6/15/17
    21 Friday 6/16/17
    22 Saturday 6/17/17
    23 Sunday 6/18/17
    24 Monday 6/19/17
    25 Tuesday 6/20/17
    26 Wednesday 6/21/17
    27 Thursday 6/22/17
    28 Friday 6/23/17
    29 Saturday 6/24/17

     

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