Quito, Ecuador — A massive landslide swept through an Andean community in central Ecuador, Ecuadorian authorities said Monday, burying dozens of homes and killing at least 16 people as rescuers frantically searched for survivors.
Ecuador’s Risk Management Secretariat said 16 people were injured and seven remained missing hours after the landslide on Sunday in Alose, about 137 miles (220 kilometers) south of the capital, Quito. The agency estimated that 500 people and 163 homes were affected by the disaster, which also destroyed part of the Pan American Highway.
Chimborazo Governor Ivan Fenosa told The Associated Press that some of the injured were taken to area hospitals. Authorities initially issued an evacuation order due to the imminent danger of new landslides, but lifted it after a few hours.
Residents of the area told local media that they heard tremors on the mountain before the landslide, which was estimated to be about 150 meters (490 feet) wide and 0.6 miles (one kilometer) long. He dragged trees, houses and other buildings.
Firefighters from half a dozen cities have been dispatched to the area to help. More than a dozen rescuers stood at the edge of the landslide as they worked to clear the rubble.
Video from cameras connected to the country’s emergency services network shows residents fleeing their homes with the help of neighbours. It also shows people moving devices and other property in vehicles.
The emergency response agency said 60% of drinking water services in the area were affected by the landslide. President Guillermo Lasso’s communications office said a shelter has been set up and that some schools will switch to online classes.
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