Landslide death toll might hit 143

from Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
Published on 29 Jan 1998
MAPUTO, Jan 29 (Reuters) - The death toll from a landslide in central Mozambique last week could reach 143, Minister of State Administration, Alfredo Gamito, said on Thursday.

First reports of the disaster in the Milange district near the Malawi border spoke of 13 dead, but by Wednesday this week 73 bodies had been recovered. Seventy people are still missing and Gamito said on state radio on Thursday that the missing must now be considered dead. Gamito, who headed a government team which visited the region to assess the disaster, said he believed that torrents of mud and rocks had swept the missing victims into a nearby river, and their bodies had been carried downstream.

The January 20 landslide occurred when heavy rains and strong winds sent an avalanche of stones and soil crashing down from Tumbine mountain onto settlements below, destroying a bridge and several houses. The landslide happened in the early morning, when most local residents were asleep. The disaster left about 2,500 people homeless.
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