Six killed in Ecuador as heavy rains trigger landslide

Heavy rains have affected areas across Central and South America in the past few days.

A severe landslide hit Ecuador last year as well, with this image from March 2023 showing residents looking over the site of a landslide that buried dozens of homes in Alausi [File: Dolores Ochoa/AP]Published On 17 Jun 202417 Jun 2024

At least six people have been killed and 19 others injured in Ecuador after heavy rainstorms triggered a landslide.

The deadly mudslide occurred on Sunday in the city of Banos de Agua Santa in central Ecuador, according to a report by the National Secretariat for Risk Management.

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The agency had initially reported that 30 more people were missing, but later said they had been located.

Videos and images online showed a flood of mud and debris charging down a hillside in Banos and surging over a highway. The authorities have mobilised heavy machinery to clear the roads.

The mayor of Banos, Miguel Guevara, urged residents to steer clear of treacherous roads and said authorities were racing to clear the area along the northern coast to ease the search for more victims.

Translation: UPDATE | Equipment and machinery from the National Secretariat for Risk Management and the Ministry of Transport and Public Works continue to arrive in the affected areas of Banos de Agua Santa. 

Banos, known among tourists as a jumping-off point for adventures in the Amazon jungle, has long been a magnet for travellers exploring Ecuador’s volcanoes and craters. It is about 135km (84 miles) south of the capital, Quito, by air or 186km (115 miles) by road.

In the canton of Chambo, the Ecuadorian military said its personnel worked with emergency responders to evacuate citizens and their belongings after intense rains led a river in the area to overflow.

Roberto Luque, Ecuador’s minister of public works, said operations at three hydroelectric plants had been affected by the storm.

“My solidarity with all the families that have been affected,” wrote Luque in a post on X.

Rainstorms have swept across parts of Central and South America over the past few days, forcing multiple countries to issue warnings of the risk of landslides, rock falls and flooding.

In El Salvador, two children died earlier this week as a result of a landslide. The civil protection agency declared a red alert for heavy rains across the small country.

In neighbouring Guatemala, the communications ministry said airlines diverted flights.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies