New Delhi: A giant pile of garbage teetered and collapsed at a massive dumping site in Delhi this afternoon, pushing a few cars, an auto-rickshaw and a scooter into a canal. A little girl is believed to be among the two dead; she was thrown off a scooter after an 80-foot heap of garbage crashed onto the road with such force that cars were swept off the road.
Five people have reportedly been pulled out with ropes and with help from divers. Two bodies have been recovered from the Kondli canal in which the cars fell, said Ajay Arora, a district officer.
A rescue operation has been on for nearly three hours at the site in Ghazipur, which is on the outskirts of the capital. A team of the National Disaster Response Force or NDRF has arrived to help in the rescue and large cranes are clearing the road of trash. A crowd gathered to watch the rescue attempts, among them residents who have complained about the dump for years.
"People don't bother...we have been complaining for years and years. Why are these dangerous dumps allowed to threaten our lives?" said an angry resident.
The garbage dump, overflowing with stinking, toxic trash that has gathered over years, collapsed around 2:30 pm.
The Ghazipur landfill site came up in 1984, and is the oldest of three landfills where Delhi's garbage is dumped. The Ghazipur site caters to the waste generated in east Delhi, central Delhi and the old quarters of the city.
The Delhi Traffic Police tweeted that the road leading from the Delhi-Noida-Delhi Expressway towards the landfill has been shut down. Traffic has already started to pile up in the adjoining areas.