The Ecuadorian authorities yesterday raised the official death toll to 23 after a landslide that buried part of a district of the city of Alausi, in the Andes, while rescue teams continued their efforts to retrieve dozens of people who remain missing, despite hopes that they will be found. alive have been annihilated.

A giant chunk of the mountain broke off overnight Sunday into Monday and hit the district on the outskirts of the city of 45,000 in Ciborasso province, about 300 kilometers south of the capital Quito.

The landslide also injured 38 residents, while 57 houses were completely destroyed, according to the latest figures from the national disaster management secretariat (SNGR). In total, the affected are estimated to be around 850.

The death toll is rising as rescue crews manage to gain access to homes that were overwhelmed. “Safety protocols are being implemented to stabilize the ground so teams are able to continue search and rescue work in the area, including the use of machinery,” SNGR explained.

According to the authorities, 67 people are still missing.

The area where Alausi is located had been on “yellow alert” since February due to rainfall.

Due to the deadly earthquake that hit the country earlier this month and rain, floods and landslides, the government last week declared a state of emergency in 14 of Ecuador’s 24 provinces so that resources needed to help the affected.

The storm surge destroyed or damaged roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

Even before Sunday’s landslide, rains and landslides had already killed 22 people and left 346 homeless across the country since the beginning of the year. More than 6,900 homes were damaged and 72 were completely destroyed, according to official figures.