Ecuador landslide: Rescuers dig through mud for survivors

  • By Vanessa Bushschlueter
  • BBC News

image caption,

Part of the mountain collapsed onto the houses below

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

More than 60 people have gone missing after tons of mudslide on a hill in Chimborazo area.

Seven people have been confirmed dead, government officials said.

More than 30 people have been rescued alive.

The landslide occurred on Sunday night after months of heavy rains.

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

Rescue workers said they heard noises that led them to believe the 12-year-old boy could still be alive in the mud.

El Comercio newspaper published footage of the moment when search teams heard silence as they heard sounds.

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Local media reported that people are warning of downed power lines in the area following the heavy rain. A few days ago, the highway connecting Alassie to Kwamote was closed indefinitely due to cracks in the tar.

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

President Guillermo Lasso visited the area on Monday. In a tweet, he said help was coming “from all sides”.

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

But on his arrival some whistled and some shouted “lasso out”. Residents told local media that they were furious, alleging that their warnings about the dangerous condition of the hillside settlements had gone unheeded.

The landslide comes more than a week after an earthquake hit Ecuador’s southern coast, killing more than a dozen people.

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