At least 14 people have died due to heavy rains across Ecuador, most of the victims dying on a highway connecting Quito to Santo Domingo and the coast.
Seven of the victims, including two Colombians, died when their vehicles were buried by landslides 30 kilometers east of Santo Domingo. It is feared that as many as four more may still be buried under the ruble that workers continue to clear.
Ecuador’s Risk Management Office said that more than 850 people have been evacuated around the country while another 449 sought refuge from the torrential rains. Affected families have been assisted by aid centers, and the government has deployed an emergency team in order to address the situation.
Recent heavy rain Latin America’s Andean region has affected most of Ecuador’s provinces, causing landslides, floods and overflowing rivers.
There have been several landslides on rural roads south of Cuenca but major highways in the area remain open, authorities say.
In Cuenca, police warned residents to stay away from rivers due to increased flow due to rain.
The national meteorological service reported that the rains are seasonal and are expected this time of year. “This is the rainy season in the central valley and in the western sierra,” an official said. “We expect rains to continue for three to four more weeks before the dry season begins.”