Death toll from Ecuador landslide deaths rises to 17, over 70 remain missing

Aftermath of landslide in Alausi

QUITO (Reuters) - At least 17 people have died from a landslide triggered by heavy rains in Ecuador's Andean region, sweeping down over parts of the city of Alausi, authorities said on Thursday, as the death toll increased and 72 people remained missing.

The landslide struck Sunday night, and on Tuesday, the official death toll stood at 11.

Ecuador's risk agency said another 37 were injured, while official data states 57 houses were completely destroyed and some 650 people affected by the disaster.

The government said rescue efforts continued in the area, where workers are being helped by heavy machinery and have installed shelters for people displaced by the landslide.

Earlier this month, a strong earthquake and severe weather prompted President Guillermo Lasso to declare a state of emergency in the 14 worst-hit provinces. Heavy rains have destroyed roads, bridges, and other infrastructure across Ecuador.

(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Carolina Pulice; Editing by Sarah Morland and David Gregorio)