More bodies recovered from the Alausí landslide but the number of missing continues to grow

Mar 29, 2023 | 9 comments

As residents of Alausí joined the search for survivors at the site of Sunday’s landslide, officials say it is unlikely more will be found. A 13-year-old girl and a young man were pulled alive from the rubble on Monday and Tuesday.

Alausí residents grieve at the site of Sunday’s landslide as the search for family members continues.

On Tuesday four more bodies were recovered and taken to the municipal morgue, bringing reported fatalities to 12.

According to the Alausí fire department, the number of missing has increased since Monday and now stands at 67. “This is a confusing situation since we depend on family and friends to report those who have not been counted,” a fire department employee said. “Sadly, it is likely that the number will keep increasing.”

According to fire department, 31 people were injured in the landslide and several of them are in critical condition in area hospitals.

Early estimates, according to the Alausí mayor’s office, are that 116 people lost their homes in the landslide and are being cared for in local shelters. The office said the number of people needing shelter, food and other necessities will increase. “In total, at least 500 people have been affected by the disaster, with 163 homes destroyed or damaged,” a spokesman said.

A dog named Jacob looks for his family in the landslide rubble.

Truckloads of donated supplies are arriving in Alausí and officials coordinating relief efforts are asking local resident to help unloading and organizing the food, clothing and tents. At least two trucks of donations left Cuenca on Tuesday, including one carrying supplies collected by University of Cuenca students.

Fire department brigades from at least 15 towns and cities continued search operations Tuesday, conducting most of the work by hand in the case there were more survivors. According to the National Risk Management office, heavy equipment will begin digging operations Wednesday as hope of finding more survivors fades.

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