Ecuador on alert after landslide.

Photo: AFP.

Rescuers are working around the clock in southern Ecuador on Tuesday in

search of dozens of people trapped under a landslide caused by heavy rains that left at least 7 dead and 64 missing, according to the most recent balance.

Accompanied by dogs, groups of rescuers and locals dig through the rubble in the hope of finding survivors, after a gigantic chunk of the mountain fell off Sunday night in Alausí, in Chimborazo province, some 300 km to the south. Quito.

According to the latest official balance, the landslide left 7 dead, 23 injured, 64 missing, and 163 houses affected by the mudslide.

There is an "accumulation of tons and tons of earth" that "makes it difficult for the victims to survive," Fernando Yanza, one of the firefighters working on the scene, told AFP.

The accumulated earth "takes away the little space for oxygen and that is the main problem" faced by the trapped people, Yanza explained after emerging from a four-meter-deep excavation without finding any signs of life.

"As you dig, it becomes more dangerous" because the ground is unstable, he lamented.

On Monday night, President Guillermo Lasso was greeted with booing in Alausí.

"Out with Lasso!" Some residents shouted, claiming that the tragedy could have been avoided.

"I was able to see first-hand the search and rescue work that is being carried out by the experts," the president wrote on Twitter after meeting with local authorities.

Lasso assured that the rescue work will continue "as long as it is necessary."

The Ecuadorian Army, which is collaborating in the search tasks, released a video in which uniformed officers extract a white dog from the mud.

"Let's continue, let's continue, they may be there," the lifeguards are heard saying.

The government activated three shelters to care for those affected by the landslide, which covers an area of ​​24.3 hectares.

The area where the tragedy occurred had been on "yellow alert" since February due to the rains


In addition, the authorities had alerted about the collapse of the E35 road in the Casual sector, from where part of the mountain fell.

Hit by heavy rains, which have caused flooding, Ecuador last week declared a state of emergency in 13 of the 24 provinces, in order to mobilize economic resources to care for the victims.

Since January, the rains have already left 22 people dead and 346 homeless in Ecuador;

More than 6,900 homes were affected and 72 destroyed, according to the National Secretariat for Risk Management (SNGR).

Last year in January, torrential rain that lasted for about 17 hours caused a reservoir to collapse, causing a flood that killed 28 people and injured 52 in Quito.

(With information from La Jornada)