Written by 16:05 World

Hundreds Feared Dead in Papua New Guinea Landslide

Unstable rubble and debris were complicating search and rescue efforts in rural Papua New Guinea on Saturday, a day after a massive landslide buried villages and killed at least three people. Local officials said the death toll was likely to be at least in the hundreds.

Nearly 4,000 people live in the three villages engulfed by the landslide early Friday, said Sandis Tsaka, the provincial administrator for Enga, which includes the affected area. He said the death toll was likely to be high because the landslide hit a densely populated area that is also a highly trafficked corridor.

“Our people will consider it of biblical proportions,” he said. “We are looking for all the help and support we can get to address the humanitarian disaster of proportions we’ve never seen in this part of the world.”

Prime Minister James Marape said in a voice message that while the toll had yet to be determined, the disaster could be the country’s biggest landslide.

“This year we’ve experienced prolonged and extraordinary rain in most parts of our country that has caused flood and also landslips,” he said. “It is a heavily populated village that experienced the entire village being submerged.”

Three bodies were pulled out of the rubble on Friday, and five people, including a child, were treated for their injuries, according to Mr. Tsaka.

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Last modified: 28 May 2024
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