Salem Radio Network News Friday, June 9, 2023


Families dig for missing in Ecuador landslide as deaths rise to 11

ALAUSI, Ecuador (Reuters) -The official death toll from a landslide in Ecuador rose to 11 on Tuesday evening as families and rescue groups worked to find dozens of people still missing after large amounts of earth smothered buildings and a stadium in the small city of Alausi.

Using spades, relatives dug through the dirt in places they believe their loved ones were when the landslide hit in the Andean province of Chimborazo on Sunday night after heavy rains.

About 67 people were still missing as of Tuesday, according to Ecuador’s disaster agency, and around 32 survivors had been rescued.

“We’ve not received help, we’ve been searching since Monday, we cannot leave our relatives here in the earth,” said a tearful Sandra Caranqui, 32, on Tuesday.

She and other family members were searching for her missing father and four siblings following the landslide, which authorities said affected about 163 buildings and 500 people.

“We no longer have hope that they’re alive,” Caranqui said. “They’ve been in there for two days.”

Professional rescuers also worked through the night using digging equipment. Jorge Montanero, chief of the city of Guayaquil’s fire department rescue group, told journalists the search would go on.

“While we have even a pinch of hope and faith we will continue even though exhaustion may be greater,” he said.

President Guillermo Lasso visited the area on Monday night and offered to extend the rescue operation to find the missing.

With fears that more landslides could be triggered, the government has ordered some 600 homes be evacuated, with three shelters set up to care for those affected.

Ecuador’s disaster agency had warned of potential landslide danger for a 247-hectare (610-acre) area in Alausi in February, which included part of the zone where Sunday’s landslide hit.

Heavy rains destroyed roads, bridges, and other infrastructure. Lasso last week declared an emergency in 14 provinces because of the weather and an earthquake on March 18.

(Reporting by Tito Correa and Karen Toro in AlausiWriting by Oliver Griffin and Alexandra ValenciaEditing by Rosalba O’Brien and Grant McCool)


Editorial Cartoons

View More »

Michael Ramirez
Wed, May 31, 2023