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The BBC's George Eykyn
"Swollen rivers have burst their banks, sweeping away hundreds of homes"
 real 56k

Wednesday, 13 June, 2001, 21:26 GMT 22:26 UK
Ecuador landslide kills 36
Ecuador landslide
Atrocious conditions are hampering rescue efforts
At least 36 people have been killed in Ecuador after a landslide destroyed a hut where they had taken refuge after being stranded on a motorway.

The victims' vehicles had been blocked by an earlier landslide near Papallacta, about 40km (25 miles) east of the capital, Quito, and they had walked to the shelter.

Man fits makeshift raincoat to girl
Thousands have been made homeless by floods
Difficult weather conditions are hampering the recovery of the bodies, amid fears that new landslides could endanger rescue workers.

Officials say a total of 41 people have died and at least 10 are still missing after rivers overflowed their banks in the southern and eastern Andes and Amazon regions.

More than 2,500 people have been forced to evacuate their homes in the worst affected areas, and the government has declared a state of emergency in several provinces.

Severe storms

The latest avalanche of mud and rock followed severe storms over the past few days, and more bad weather is forecast.

The main oil pipeline in Ecuador has been damaged and cut
The main oil pipeline was cut, setting off fires
"According to a survivor, they entered a small hut and while they rested, a new landslide with rocks came through. Only three in this group survived," Red Cross spokesman Cristian Rivera told Reuters news agency.

On Friday, a 200-metre stretch of the country's only oil pipeline was destroyed by another landslide, spilling some 10,000 barrels of oil.

Movements of crude oil, Ecuador's main export, are expected to be cut for four or five days.

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See also:

23 May 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Ecuador
23 May 01 | Americas
Timeline: Ecuador
14 Oct 00 | Americas
Deadly mudslide at Ecuador volcano
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