Disasters & Accidents

Death toll in Ecuador landslide rises to 28

Quito, Apr 2 (EFE).- The death toll in the gigantic landslide a week ago that buried part of the Andean village of Alausi rose to 28 on Sunday after another body was removed from the debris, the Ecuadorian Attorney General’s Office reported.

On its Twitter account, the Office said that one body had been recovered and handed over to relatives after the victim was identified.

The most recent casualty toll published on Saturday by the Risk Management Secretariat (SGR) placed the number of injured at 38, adding that 32 people had been rescued and 850 had suffered property damage with a number of them having been left homeless but currently staying in temporary shelters set up in the town in Chimborazo province.

A total of 163 homes were damaged by the landslide and another 57 completely destroyed.

Rescue efforts, in which firefighters and Ecuadorian army troops are participating, are being conducted despite the risk that a new landslide could occur given that new crevices and cracks have been detected in the upper zone of the mountain down which the debris cascaded last Sunday.

It is not presently known exactly how many bodies could be beneath the mud, earth and other debris, given that some of the homes in the path of the ‘slide previously had been evacuated after authorities warned that such a natural disaster could occur.

The landslide occurred last Sunday night in the Casual sector, in the Nuevo Alausi neighborhood, affecting an area of 24.3 hectares (about 61 acres) and including the local municipal soccer stadium.

The inhabitants of Alausi had already warned and notified the authorities of the possibility of a landslide in December, when several cracks had been detected in the hill that, over the weeks, exceeded one meter in width.

The Ecuadorian Secretariat for Risk Management claims to have sent a technical report on Mar. 11 to the governor of Chimborazo and the mayor of Alausi recommending and requesting the evacuation of the population, among other measures.

EFE –/bp

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