QUITO - At least 16 people have died in a landslide in the south of Ecuador caused by months of heavy rainfall, the government said on Monday.
The mudslide happened late on Sunday night, burying dozens of homes, injuring 16 people and affecting around 500, the Risk Management Secretariat (SNGR) said in a statement.
Since January, heavy rains have been responsible for the deaths of 22 people.
Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso said on Twitter that firefighters had been deployed to the village of Alausi in Chimborazo province, around 300 kilometers (180 miles) south of the capital, "to attend to the affected citizens."
Images shared on local media showed dozens of rescuers and civilians trying to clear debris in the dead of night with only torches for light.
Heavy rains since the beginning of the year have destroyed 72 homes and damaged more than 6,900, according to the SNGR.
There have been close to 1,000 dangerous events, such as landslides and flooding, caused by the rains this year.
Afterwards, the government called a two-month state of emergency in more than half the country, allowing economic resources to be redistributed from other areas to provide aid to those affected.
In February, the rains forced oil pumping in the country to be suspended for five days because an oil pipeline was in danger due to the risk that a bridge would collapse.