QUITO: The number of people killed in a massive landslide in Ecuador has risen to 27, authorities said on Saturday, adding that rescue teams are still searching for dozens of missing people after the tragedy struck nearly a week ago.

Following torrential rain, a massive chunk of a mountainside broke loose late last Sunday and buried parts of the town of Alausi, destroying or damaging at least 163 homes, officials said.

Rescuers have spent the last six days digging through the rubble in the southern town some 180 miles (300 kilometers) south of the capital Quito searching for dozens of people, with the death toll steadily climbing.

On Friday the Secretariat of Risk Management said 23 people had died, 38 were injured and 67 remained missing.

But by Saturday the toll had climbed “27 confirmed deaths after the collapse,“ the national prosecutors’ office said on Twitter.

Officials said rescue teams were still searching for missing people, though it was not immediately clear how many.

The same region was hit by an earthquake just over a week earlier in which 15 people were killed.

After months of heavy rains, the government last week declared a two-month state of emergency in 13 of the country's 24 provinces, allowing economic resources to be redistributed to affected areas. -AFP