A police officer inspects a damaged house for victims after a garbage dump collapsed and buried dozens of houses in Colombo, Sri Lanka April 15, 2017.
Dinuka Liyanawatte—Reuters
April 16, 2017 11:12 PM EDT

Anger is rising in a Sri Lankan community that has suffered at least 26 deaths after a dumpsite residents had long deemed unsafe collapsed on Friday.

According to the army, six children were among those killed in the disaster. On Monday, an operation to recover the missing was still ongoing with hopes of finding survivors fading, the BBC reports.

The collapse of the 300-ft. (91 m) Meethotamulla dump occurred after a fire and floods destroyed dozens of homes near its base. It has provoked anger among local residents who had long complained of health problems caused by the accumulated garbage and demanded the dump’s closure.

“It’s very unfortunate that no one listened to us. Now, after so many deaths, politicians are saying they will stop dumping garbage. These are murders, we will take legal action,” resident Nuwan Bopage told the BBC.

Locals reportedly blocked politicians from visiting the site of the disaster.

Everyday around 800 tonnes of waste were piled onto the Meethotamulla dump, according to reports. After its closure was announced following Friday’s collapse, officials said garbage would in future be split across two other sites.


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Write to Joseph Hincks at joseph.hincks@time.com.

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