International

Ecuador: Heavy Rains Trigger Landslide, 6 Dead, 19 Injured; Rescue Ops Underway

Miguel Guevara, the mayor of Baños, urged residents to stay away from the treacherous roads and said actions were being taken to clear the path soon.

X/@RobertoLuqueN
Visuals from landslide-hit Baños in Ecuador. Photo: X/@RobertoLuqueN
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Heavy rains lashed Ecuador on Sunday, triggering a landslide over a highway in the country's central region, killing at least six people, injuring 19 others and leaving 30 others missing.

The incessant downpour caused several rivers to overflow, bringing water to the roads and streets of the nation. The city's fire department said that the flood of debris and mud harrowed down the hillside and hit three cars, two houses and a bus in the resort city of Baños.

Rescuers recovered six bodies from the site of disaster and were treating nine other injured persons, while 30 more were believed to be trapped under the debris, Deputy fire chief Captain Angel Barriga told The Associated Press.

Later, these 30 persons were reported to have been located, according to Reuters.

Ecuador's minister of Public Works, Roberto Luque, said that the operations at three hydroelectric plants had been also hit by the storm.

"We are attending to the emergencies that occurred in Baños de Agua Santa early on and reinforcing the MTOP contingent with local governments," Luque said in an X post, adding that "my solidarity with all the families who have been affected".

Famous among tourists as the jumping-off point for adventure in the Amazon jungle, Baños, has been a travellers' attraction and especially for those exploring Ecuador's volcanoes and craters.

Baños is about 84 miles (135 kilometres) south of the capital city of Quito.

Luque also noted that the 400 MW that can be purchased with Columbia has been activated and the entire thermal park has been turned on. "This problem makes it necessary to have electrical outages in the range of peak demand hours, whose magnitude and times will be defined by the distribution companies," he added.

Heavy downpour drenched Ecuador and other neighbouring parts of the region over the last few days, with a landslide in El Salvador earlier last week killing two children.

Notably, an overflowing torrent of water from the Pisque river on Sunday flooded a popular waterpark. Officials said that there were no immediate reports of casualties.

Emergency workers in the country had said that several landslides had blocked or damaged the streets, posing a severe challenge to the rescue operations as rains continued to lash the nation.

Miguel Guevara, the mayor of Baños, urged residents to stay away from the treacherous roads and said authorities were moving as fast as possible to clear the area along the northern coast to search for more victims.

The Public Works minister, Luque, also noted that "the national government is in Baños to verify with the local authorities all the affected points and make decisions to solve the emergencies that have been registered not only here, but in the other cantons of the province."

(With inputs from agencies)

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