Death toll from landslide in Andean province of Chimborazo leaves 11 people dead with 67 people still unaccounted for, officials say.

Rescue teams search for survivors at a neighbourhood affected by a landslide in the small city of Alausi.
Rescue teams search for survivors at a neighbourhood affected by a landslide in the small city of Alausi. (AFP)

The official death toll from a landslide in Ecuador has risen to 11 as families and rescue groups worked to find dozens of people still missing after large amounts of earth smothered buildings and a stadium in the small city of Alausi.

On Tuesday, relatives used speeds to dig through the dirt in places they believe their loved ones were when the landslide hit in the Andean province of Chimborazo on Sunday night after heavy rains.

About 67 people were still missing as of Tuesday, according to Ecuador's disaster agency, and around 32 survivors had been rescued.

"We've not received help, we've been searching since Monday, we cannot leave our relatives here in the earth," said a tearful Sandra Caranqui, 32, on Tuesday.

Following the landslide, which authorities said affected about 163 buildings and 500 people, she and other family members were searching for her missing father and four siblings.

"We no longer have hope that they're alive," Caranqui said. "They've been in there for two days."

Professional rescuers also worked through the night using digging equipment. Jorge Montanero, chief of the city of Guayaquil's fire department rescue group, told journalists the search would go on.

"While we have even a pinch of hope and faith we will continue even though exhaustion may be greater," he said.

READ MORE: Several dead, dozens missing in Ecuador landslide

Extended rescue operations

President Guillermo Lasso visited the area on Monday night and offered to extend the rescue operation to find the missing.

With fears that more landslides could be triggered, the government has ordered some 600 homes be evacuated, with three shelters set up to care for those affected.

Ecuador's disaster agency had warned of potential landslide danger for a 247-hectare area in Alausi in February, which included part of the zone where Sunday's landslide hit.

Heavy rains destroyed roads, bridges, and other infrastructure.

Lasso last week declared an emergency in 14 provinces because of the weather and an earthquake on March 18.

Since the start of the year, heavy rains in Ecuador had caused the deaths of 22 people, destroyed 72 homes and damaged more than 6,900 residences before Sunday's landslide, according to the SNGR risk management secretariat.

In January 2022, 17 hours of torrential rain caused a dam to collapse, with the resulting flooding killing 28 people in Quito and injuring 52 more.

READ MORE: Deadly Ecuador earthquake causes wide damage

Source: TRTWorld and agencies