May 31, 2023

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Landslide in Ecuador: Rescuers dig through the mud, looking for survivors

  • Written by Vanessa Buschloter
  • BBC News

photo caption,

An expanse of hillside collapsed onto the homes below

Search teams in Ecuador comb through mud for survivors of a landslide that buried entire families in the mountains outside the town of Alosi.

More than 60 people have been reported missing after tons of mud slid down a hillside in the Chimborazo region.

Government officials said seven people had been confirmed dead.

More than 30 of them were saved alive.

The landslide occurred Sunday night after months of heavy rain.

As of 17:00 local time (12:00 GMT) on Monday, 64 people remained missing.

Rescue workers said they heard voices that led them to believe a 12-year-old boy was still alive under the mud.

El Comercio published footage of the moment the search teams asked for silence while they listened to the sounds.

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Local media said residents had warned of fault lines forming in the area after heavy rains. Just days ago, the highway linking Alosi and Guamute was closed indefinitely after the runway opened up.

Local radio reporters described “haunting scenes” as relatives rushed to the site in search of their loved ones.

President Guillermo Lasso visited the region on Monday. He said in a tweet that help is arriving “from all sides”.

“You are not alone, the whole country is behind you,” he added.

But during his visit, some people booed and whistled, while others shouted “Lasso out.” Residents told local media they were angry, claiming that their warnings about the precarious state of the hillside dwellings had not been acted upon.

The landslide comes just over a week after an earthquake struck the southern coast of Ecuador, killing more than a dozen people.