Nearly 50 missing, 7 dead in Ecuador landslide


The mudslide happened late on Sunday night, burying dozens of homes and injuring 23 people, officials said.

The government's communications secretariat revised the initial confirmed death toll down from 16 in the village of Alausi in Chimborazo province, some 300 kilometers (180 miles) south of the capital.

Rescuers and civilians were seen Monday trying to clear debris by hand to get to any survivors.

Ecuador's President Guillermo Lasso said on Twitter that firefighters from neighboring areas had been rushed to the village of "to attend to the affected citizens."

The government said it had mobilized the national police, armed forces, the health ministry and the Red Cross to help with the rescue efforts.

"We have activated temporary accommodation and mobilized sleeping kits for those that have lost their homes," said a government statement on Twitter

Since the start of the year, heavy rains in Ecuador have caused the deaths of 22 people, destroyed 72 homes and damaged more than 6,900, according to the SNGR risk management secretariat.

The downpours have caused close to 1,000 dangerous events, such as landslides and flooding.

The area affected by Sunday's disaster had been in a designated "yellow alert" risk zone since February following other landslides.

Sunday's landslide came just over a week after 15 people, including a Peruvian, were killed when a strong quake struck in Ecuador's southwestern border region with Peru.

The earthquake, registered at a magnitude of 6.5 by local authorities, caused 22 landslides that blocked roads in the provinces of El Oro and Azuay.

Afterwards, the government declared a two-month state of emergency in 13 of the country's 24 provinces, allowing economic resources to be redistributed to affected areas.

In February, heavy rains forced oil pumping in the country to be suspended for five days for safety checks over fears that a major oil pipeline could have been damaged by the collapse of a bridge.

Ecuador's Andean valleys can have a rainy season that lasts from October until May.