At least 16 people have been killed and 16 others injured after a massive landslide buried dozens of homes in an Andean community in central Ecuador, the country’s emergency relief agency reported.
The Ecuadorian Risk Management Secretariat said on Monday that seven people were still missing hours after the rain-induced landslide hit Alausi, a small town about 317 km south of the capital Quito, on Sunday night.
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 Vinueza said some of the injured have been taken to area hospitals. He added that residents and rescuers have been ordered to evacuate the area due to the looming risk of new landslides.
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Residents told local media they heard tremors on the mountain before the landslide, which is estimated to be about 150 meters wide.
Firefighters from half a dozen towns were dispatched to the area to assist.