Tuesday, June 6

The president of Ecuador assures that there are only seven deaths from a landslide

The president of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, assured this Monday that they are only seven the people registered so far as deceased by the avalanche that devastated a neighborhood of the small city of Alausí, in the center of the Ecuadorian Andes, on Sunday night.

With this statement, the president contradicted the number of sixteen deceased that the Risk Management Secretariat (SGR) had given in the morning hours.

Lasso, who went to Alausí tonight to personally direct the search and rescue efforts, also raised the number of people missing from the landslide to 62.

“Let’s keep hope and faith that we are going to find some of their relatives alive,” and if not, then everything possible will be done to recover the bodies and deliver them to their relatives, he remarked in an impromptu statement near the called “ground zero”, where the residents also asked the president to expedite state aid and the arrival of heavy machinery.

However, Lasso clarified that, according to the recommendations of the experts, it is not advisable to use heavy machinery to remove the rubble, since the ground is still unstable and could generate new problems.

The ruler also offered to build a housing complex to relocate families who have lost their homes and assured that support mechanisms for affected citizens will be activated.

He also indicated that the Army Corps of Engineers will support the Ministry of Public Works to rehabilitate the road affected by the avalanche, as well as the drinking water pipes that were destroyed.

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Searches and evacuations

In parallel, groups of neighbors and fire rescue teams and other State institutions continued with the search and removal of debris, taking care that these do not affect the possibility of locating people alive.

For this reason, rescuers sometimes ask for absolute silence to try to hear any sign of possible survivors.

Also the population of neighborhoods that have not been affected, but that are in the range of an eventual new landslide, have begun to gather their belongings to evacuate the town.

Temporary shelters have been set up in the safe areas of Alausí, although at the moment very few people have gone to this type of residence.

Affected the ‘Devil’s Nose’

The wait, which can turn into anguish, has moved groups of neighbors to improvise therapies and dynamics to smooth the situation.

The avalanche has also affected the old railway line that crosses the area and which, among its nearby destinations, has the so-called Devil’s Nose, one of the most emblematic railway crossings in South America.

This section, which is located on the line that joins a sector of the coast and the central Andean highlands of the country, sits on the rocky ground of a pointed mountain that could only be resolved with a variant of rails to overcome the unevenness.

At that point, the train must reach the top of one of the levels and then zigzag down and reverse until it joins the section in the direction of the route, although with a precipice on the side, which makes it a railway adventure. considered extreme.

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