Quito, Ecuador – A final landslide on Wednesday killed five people and sent them on an emergency rescue mission in a remote part of northern Ecuador known for illegal gold mining.
The landslide occurred due to illegal mining, according to the country’s natural disasters and emergency response service, and as Ecuador and neighboring countries, such as Colombia, which struggle to combat the illegal industry, which increase international gold prices Has increased with.
Unauthorized mines often form part of larger criminal networks, conditions are highly unsafe for workers, and trade often attracts violent actors from neighboring communities.
Landslides occurred in Esmeraldas, off the border with Colombia. Esmeraldas is one of Ecuador’s poorest provinces, and has been ravaged by illegal activity, including wood and drug trafficking.
Wednesday evening, officials said emergency crews rescued three people, and two others were still missing. Officials said the landslide occurred at a place where a large hole was dug, with officials saying a backhoe was possibly found at the site.
The deaths, including a minor one, comes as Ecuador tries to confront the issue.
Last year, a large-scale military and police initiative demolished an illegal mining operation near the Colombian border, in the village of Buenos Aires. More than 2,000 police and military officers and several state prosecutors were involved in the operation. According to government figures, there are only 1,800 people living in the city, yet an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 people are working in the mine, according to a report by the government ministry.
On Twitter, President Lenin Moreno called landslidesad news. “