“I left the house because I needed to sell outside, so I left my wife and child,” he said. “When I came back my house was gone and my wife and child are buried underneath.”
The wall of garbage buried an area of squatter houses about the size of four basketball courts. About 100 houses were covered, Quezon City Mayor Mathay said.
About 780 people were taken to an evacuation center at city hall, he said.
Horror Beneath the Surface
In one area, rescuers pulled out three bodies, including a man badly burned but breathing.
Red Cross volunteers doused his body with water from a fire hose but failed to revive him, witnesses said.
A week of heavy rains followed by a thunderstorm early Monday apparently caused a crack in the upper portion of the mountain of garbage, Manila police chief Edgar Aglipay said.
The dumpsite was to be closed permanently last December but the plan was postponed until later this year after residents at a garbage landfill in San Mateo in nearby Rizal province refused to allow waste from metropolitan Manila to be dumped there.
ABCNEWS’ Gamay Palacios, the Associated Press, and Reuters contributed to this report