QUITO, Feb 1 (Reuters) – At least 14 people died and another 32 were injured in a landslide in the north of Ecuador’s capital Quito, the country’s emergency response office said on Tuesday, as firefighter rescue crews continue searching homes and streets covered by mud.
Torrential rains on Monday night caused a build-up of water in a gorge near the working class neighborhoods of La Gasca and La Comuna, sending mud and rocks down on residences and affecting electricity provision.
“The figure of deceased people rises to 14, that of destroyed homes to 3 and affected families to 3,” the Ecuador Office for Risk and Emergency Management said on Twitter.
Authorities said late on Monday nine people were missing and 32 were injured.
“We saw this immense black river that was dragging along everything, we had to climb the walls to escape,” said resident Alba Cotacachi, who evacuated her two young daughters from their home. “We are looking for the disappeared.”
Social media videos showed a muddy river flowing through neighborhood streets, carrying with it trees, vehicles, dumpsters and even electricity poles, as residents screamed for help.
Other images showed some people being rescued from the current by neighbors.
The landslide also affected a sports field where several people were exercising, the municipality of Quito said in a statement late on Monday, and overwhelmed drainage systems.
Ecuador is facing heavy rains in several areas, which have caused rivers to overflow and affected hundreds of homes and roads.
Rains in Quito on Monday were equivalent to 75 liters per square meter, the highest figure in nearly two decades.