Over 300 buried, hundreds feared dead in landslide


Tragic incident: People crossing over the landslide area to get to the other side in Yambali village, Papua New Guinea. — AP

MORE than 300 people and over 1,100 houses were buried by a massive landslide that levelled a remote village north of the country, local media reported.

Hundreds are feared dead in the landslide that hit Kaokalam village in Enga province, about 600km northwest of capital Port Moresby, around 3am local time on Friday.

The landslide in the Pacific nation north of Australia buried more than 300 people and 1,182 houses, the Papua New Guinea Post Courier said, citing comments from a member of the country’s parliament, Aimos Akem. Akem did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment via social media.

More than six villages had been impacted by the landslide in the province’s Mulitaka region, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said yesterday.

“Australia’s High Commission in Port Moresby is in close contact with PNG authorities for further assessments on the extent of the damage and casualties,” a DFAT spokesperson said in a statement.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp reported yesterday that four bodies had been retrieved from the area after emergency teams reached the sparsely populated area, where the death toll is expected to rise. The landslide has blocked highway access, making helicopters the only way to reach the area, the broadcaster reported.

Social media footage posted by villager Ninga Role showed people clambering over rocks, uprooted trees and mounds of dirt searching for survivors.

Women could be heard weeping in the background.

Prime Minister James Marape has said disaster officials, the Defence Force and the Department of Works and Highways were assisting with relief and recovery efforts. — Reuters

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landslide , Enga , Papua New Guinea

   

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