Deadly landslide in Ecuador: rescuers search for victims

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According to the latest report released Tuesday by the authorities, the landslide in southwestern Ecuador left 11 dead and 67 missing. Rescuers are always mobilized to find victims.

Rescuers are continuing their operations Tuesday in southwestern Ecuador to try to find victims the day after the landslide that left 11 dead and 67 missing according to a latest report.

Accompanied by sniffer dogs, groups of rescuers and residents search the rubble in the hope of finding survivors after a huge mountain slab broke off overnight from Sunday to Monday in Alausi, Chimborazo province , some 300 km south of Quito.

According to the latest official report, the landslide left 11 dead and 67 missing, and 163 houses were affected by the mudslide which fell on a peripheral district clinging to the mountainside.

On the spot, the survivors attended all day, between anger and helplessness, the rescue operations to try to free their buried relatives.

“Here lie my daughter, my granddaughter, my whole family (…) Our pain is terrible”, launched to AFP Carlos Maquero, the face upset by the pain, and launching terrible calls for help to speed up the excavation work. “My sisters managed to escape, thank God (…) but my sister-in-law did not manage to get out, she was buried there with her babies”, laments Carmen Quiroz.

As the hours go by, hopes of finding survivors dwindle. There is an “accumulation of tons and tons of earth” which “makes it difficult for the victims to survive,” Fernando Yanza, one of the firefighters working on the site, told AFP. The accumulated dirt “takes away the little oxygen and that’s the main problem” faced by people trapped under the flow, he explained. “The more you dig, the more dangerous it is” because the ground is unstable, he added.

“As long as necessary”

Arrived on the spot Monday evening, the Ecuadorian president Guillermo Lasso was greeted by boos and cries of hostility: “Outside Lasso!” “I was able to see with my own eyes the search and rescue work carried out by the rescuers”, he commented on Twitter after meeting the local authorities, assuring that these operations would continue “as long as necessary” .

In the disaster area, some 600 houses spared by the landslide were evacuated on the orders of the authorities. The government has set up three shelters for the victims of the landslide, which has spread over 24.3 hectares.

The area where the tragedy occurred had been on “yellow alert” since February due to heavy rainfall. In addition, the authorities had warned of a possible collapse of the road in this same sector.

Hit by heavy rains that caused widespread flooding, Ecuador last week declared a state of emergency in 13 of the country’s 24 provinces, to mobilize resources to help those affected.

With AFP

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