At least 16 people have died in a landslide that buried entire families under mud and rubble in a mountain village in Ecuador.
Firefighters, police and specialised rescue teams have been dispatched to the canton of Alausí, in the Andes mountains, to search for trapped residents.
Six people have been pulled alive from the mud, but the government said that at least seven were still missing.
More than a dozen have been injured.
Local media said that residents had been warning of fault lines forming in the area following heavy rains. Just days ago, the highway linking Alausí with Guamote was closed indefinitely after the tarmac had cracked open.
One resident told local media that “the mountainside slid down like a rocket” on Sunday evening, burying several homes under earth and rocks.
Local media published a video showing a stretch of mountain road which had completely collapsed.
Footage uploaded earlier by the police showed people using torches and spotlights to search for survivors amid the surrounding darkness.
Local radio reporters described “heart-wrenching scenes” as relatives rushed to the site looking for their loved ones.
President Guillermo Lasso said the country’s risk management agency had been alerted and would be providing help to those affected.
One of the main roads linking the cities of Riobamba and Cuenca had to be closed due to these latest landslides, further complicating access to the area.
The landslide comes just over a week after an earthquake struck Ecuador’s southern coast, leaving more than a dozen people dead.