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 response agency reported.
Ecuador’s Risk Management Secretariat said on Monday that seven people remained missing hours after the rain-fuelled landslide hit Alausi, a small town about 317km (197 miles) 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 a portion of the Pan-American Highway.
The governor of Chimborazo, Ivan Vinueza, said that 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 imminent risk of new landslides.
Residents told local media they heard tremors on the mountain before the landslide, which is estimated to be about 150m (490 feet) wide.
Firefighters from half a dozen cities were dispatched to the area to help.