• Debris and rubble at the site of a collapsed garbage mountain in Colombo, Sri Lanka 15 April 2017. (AAP)
The death toll from a rubbish dump landslide that buried about 100 houses in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo has now risen to 16.
Source:
AAP
16 Apr 2017 - 8:10 AM  UPDATED 16 Apr 2017 - 8:24 AM

A rubbish dump landslide in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo has killed at least 16 people and injured over a dozen, as emergency workers continue to dig into the mountain of trash in search of survivors.

The estimated 91 metre dump collapsed after flames engulfed it late on Friday, the island nation's traditional new year's day, and witnesses said around 100 houses could have been buried.

The death toll rose to 16 as more bodies were discovered on Saturday, army spokesman Roshan Senivirathna said.

At least four teenagers were among the dead, a nurse at the main Colombo hospital told Reuters.

"We heard a massive sound. It was like thunder. Tiles in our house got cracked. Black water started coming in," said Kularathna, who lives near the dump.

"We tried to get out but we were trapped inside. We shouted for help and were rescued later."

Another resident, Mohamed, said three of his neighbours were missing and estimated that more than 100 people could have been buried.

Rescue operations continued for a second day on Saturday with soldiers using heavy equipment to remove the garbage.

Police said about 145 houses had been damaged, but they did not say how many had been buried.

Residents of the area, mostly living in shanties, have been demanding the removal of the dump saying it was causing health issues.

The government had planned to remove it soon under an infrastructure plan.