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Landslide in Papua New Guinea: Over 100 Feared Dead and Rescue Efforts Stalled

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A massive landslide in Papua New Guinea has killed more than 100 people, and rescue operations face significant challenges due to poor infrastructure and remote locations.

Landslide Devastates Villages in Papua New Guinea

A landslide has caused a tragic disaster in Papua New Guinea, resulting in the deaths of more than 100 people with expectations that the number of victims will continue to rise. The landslide hit the village of Kaokalam in Enga Province at around 3 a.m. local time and has severely impacted at least six other nearby villages.

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the calamity happened while most residents were asleep, leaving houses flattened and residents buried under rubble, rocks, and trees. Videos circulated on social media show local villagers tirelessly working to recover bodies trapped underneath the debris, using basic tools like headlamps, machetes, and axes.

Rescue Efforts Underway Amidst Difficult Conditions

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister James Marape and Enga Province Governor Peter Ipatas have both acknowledged the scale of the disaster but emphasized that precise information is still being gathered. A comprehensive rescue operation has been mounted, involving doctors, soldiers, police, and members of UN agencies, although it may take up to two days for needed assistance to reach the isolated areas due to poor infrastructure.

Janet Philemon, the acting secretary general of the national branch of the Red Cross, highlighted that between 100 and 500 people might be injured or dead. Despite the grim outlook, rescuers continue to face harsh conditions, including blocked roads and disrupted communication lines. The region is characterized by challenging terrain and lacks an established network of roads or reliable internet connections, making the situation more dire.

The landslide has raised concerns about the supply chain to the affected villages, especially with the blocked road to the town of Porgera, an essential route for fuel and goods. This further underscores the severity of the disaster in a country where 85% of the population lives in rural areas and relies on agriculture for subsistence.

  • Authorities are yet to confirm the exact number of deaths, with local estimations surpassing 100. The landslide has caused significant disruption, halting operations at the large Porgera gold mine.
  • Rescue operations are significantly hampered by poor infrastructure and the remote location of the affected villages, accessible mainly by helicopter.
Clam Reports
Refs: | Le Parisien | Aljazeera |

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