Ecuador – at least 23 people are reported dead after heavy rainfall and a landslide in the capital city of Quito.
The Mayor of Quito, Santiago Guarderas stated that as many as 47 people have been injured in the recent rainfall and landslide-led incidents. Two injured people are believed to be in critical condition whereas seven have been discharged after the first aid treatment.
The mayor also stated that the authorities fear that the death toll will rise as the debris is still being removed and rescue operation is ongoing at the moment.
“We saw this immense black river that was dragging along everything, we had to climb the walls to escape,” resident Alba Cotacachi, who evacuated her two young daughters stated.
“We are looking for the disappeared,” Cotacachi said.
The Quito security department stated that 32 people have been reported injured with eight houses completely collapsed and more damage is expected.
The heavy rainfall quickly transformed into a storm which triggered a landslide that dropped approximately 75 liters per square meter making it the most ferocious and largest rainfall observed in the city in the past two decades.
Typically, Quito recorded about 82 mm of rain in January and 111mm in February. Keeping these averages in mind, the city received almost three-quarters of the monthly total in a single go.
Videos and images have been circulating on different social media platforms where the residents can be seen screaming while stranded in different areas as the city transforms into a muddy river. Water can be seen flowing across the streets of Quito dissolving vehicles, trees, electricity poles, and dumpsters along with it.
“There was an oversaturation of the soil on the slopes, which generated a slide from the slopes to the channel and caused this landslide,” Guarderas said.
The city’s population is about 2.7 million and a vast majority shifted to shelters because of the natural crisis. Several residents of Quito are at the moment receiving treatment for the medical condition of hypothermia. The authorities of Ecuador have announced official three days of mourning for the deceased and to mourn the devastating conditions that followed after the landslide and record rainfall