Ecuador Landslide Kills At Least Seven, Leaves Dozens Missing
Story Code : 1049219
Earlier, officials had reported 16 deaths, but Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso put the confirmed toll at seven as he arrived Monday night at the scene of the disaster in Alausí, south of the capital, Quito.
Officials raised the number of people reported missing to 62.
Ecuador's Risk Management Secretariat said more than 30 people were rescued after the mountainside collapsed around 10 p.m. Sunday. It said 23 people were injured.
The risk management agency estimated 500 people and 163 homes were affected by the disaster, which also destroyed a portion of the Pan-American Highway.
The governor of Chimborazo, Ivan Vinueza, told The Associated Press that some of the injured were taken to area hospitals. He said officials had urged people to evacuate the area after landslides and cracks began to develop about two months ago. Some followed the advice, and by Saturday, as tremors intensified, others fled.
Area residents told local media they heard tremors on the mountain before the landslide, which was estimated to be about 150 meters wide and nearly 700 meters long. It swept away trees, homes and other buildings. More than fifty houses were buried under tons of mud of debris.
The emergency response agency said 60% of potable water service in the area was affected by the landslide. The communication's office of the presidential office said some schools would be switching to online classes.
Firefighters from a half dozen cities were dispatched to the area to help. Rescuers focused on the flanks of the landslide where they found traces and debris of houses.