Ecuador landslides kills at least 24: What happened, all that we know so far

Landslides triggered by heavy rain and flooding have killed at least 24 people and injured dozens of others in Quito, the capital of Ecuador.

Neighbors join rescue workers in hunting through the ruins for survivors a day after a rain-weakened hillside collapsed and brought waves of mud over homes and a sports field, in the La Gasca neighborhood of Quito, Ecuador. AP

Landslides triggered by heavy rain and flooding have killed at least 24 people and injured dozens of others in Quito, the capital of Ecuador.

The country was hit by heavy rainfall between 31 January and 1 February, which caused multiple landslides, floods and mudflows. Let’s take a look at everything that we know so far:

– The capital city of Ecuador was hit by the heaviest rainfall the country has seen in almost 20 years.

– According to a report by The Guardian, city officials said that a rain-weakened hillside collapsed over homes and a sports field killing at least 24 people.

– In some areas the mud was as high as 3 metres that swept away vehicles. It also flooded a sports field where volleyball players were practising in front of spectators.

– The working class neighbourhoods of La Gasca and La Comuna were hit by flowing mud and rocks as water was built up in a gorge nearby due to torrential rains on Monday night, news agency Reuters said.

– According to the security department at least 48 people were injured and over a dozen people are still missing.

– Quito mayor Santiago Guarderas said the intense rains had saturated the soils, setting off the landslide.

– Smaller waves of muddy water continued pouring down on Tuesday morning past residents trying to shift stones, tree trunks and debris.

– According to the BBC, weather experts said the amount of rain that hit the mountain was almost 40 times more than had been forecast.

– Authorities have not ruled out the possibility of further landslides. The mayor’s office has set up shelters for affected families and has started clearing streets in the city.

– Most of the city’s 2.7 million population have been taken to shelters, with some residents receiving treatment for hypothermia. Authorities have called for three days of mourning to remember the victims.

What is a landslide and how it occurs

– Also known as landslips, landslides are different forms of mass wasting including a wide range of ground movements, such as rockfalls, deep-seated slope failures, mudflows, and debris flows.

– A landslide can occur due to heavy rainfall, erosion by a river or sea waves, volcanic eruptions and earthquake among other reasons.

– Human activities like deforestation, construction, mining, blasting, vibrations from traffic or machinery can also aggravate the possibility of landslides.

With inputs from agencies

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