A group of rescuers is working intensively on the area of Tabete, Chinca parish, located in the province of Esmeraldas, where last Tuesday night a mountain collapsed almost entirety, after two hours of heavy rain, and the earth that came down buried thirteen people. Yesterday, only seven bodies were found and removed until 15:00, according to Governor Rafael Lemos.
“We felt a strong buzz, then a neighbor told us that the hill had come down, we went to the place and we only saw that everything was in the ground, the houses were no longer in place,” said Mariano Alcívar who was crying the death of his father.
One of the most shocking scenes were observed when the bodies of a couple formed by Luis Alcivar Mecias, 25 years old, and Rosario Salazar, 15 years old, were removed from the rubble, holding hands with their 6-month-old baby in the middle of them.
Ernesto Estupinan, Mayor of Esmeraldas, gave the order to the Committee of Emerging Operations (COE) to activate the emergency, and at 03:00 yesterday the Mayor arrived to the area where dozens of residents were desperately asking for help.
Police and military were responsible for cordoning off the area of the landslide, and prevented access to the media, but the inhabitants of the sector, who arrived minutes later, broke the security fence to enter. The authorities warned of the danger of more landslides in the area.