Friday, June 21, 2024
Advertisement
  1. You Are At:
  2. News
  3. World
  4. Papua New Guinea mayhem: Over 2,000 people buried in deadly landslide, local authorities tell UN I VIDEO

Papua New Guinea mayhem: Over 2,000 people buried in deadly landslide, local authorities tell UN I VIDEO

Unstable terrain, remote locations and damaged roads are hampering relief efforts in Papua New Guinea after more than 2,000 people were feared killed in a landslide last week in the Pacific nation's north.

Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Port Moresby Updated on: May 27, 2024 11:54 IST
Papua New Guinea landslide
Image Source : REUTERS Destruction after landslide in Yambali Village

More than 2,000 people were buried alive by a massive landslide in Papua New Guinea last week, the national disaster centre said on Monday, as treacherous terrain and the difficulty of getting aid to the site raises the risk few survivors will be found.

The numbers of those buried around Yambali village in Enga province in the country's north are based on estimates from local authorities which have been rising steadily since Friday's landslide.

VIDEO: Landslide aftermath 

A UN agency put the estimated death toll at more than 670 people on Sunday. The National Disaster Centre raised the toll again to 2,000 in a letter to the UN on Sunday that was released publicly on Monday. The landslide also caused major destruction to buildings and food gardens, it said. "The situation remains unstable as the landslip continues to shift slowly, posing an ongoing danger to both the rescue teams and survivors alike," according to the letter.

About 4,000 people were living near the affected area, CARE International PNG country director Justine McMahon told ABC television on Monday. But it is difficult to get an accurate estimate of the local population as PNG's last credible census was in 2000 and many people live in remote mountainous villages. The country recently announced a census would be conducted in 2024.

 Unstable terrain, remote location

The unstable terrain, remote location and nearby tribal warfare are hampering relief efforts in Papua New Guinea. Emergency crews, led by Papua New Guinea's (PNG) defence personnel, were on the ground, but the first excavator only reached the site late on Sunday, according to a UN official.

Social media footage posted by villagers and local media teams showed people scaling rocks, digging with shovels, sticks and their bare hands to find survivors. Women could be heard weeping in the background. Six bodies have been retrieved so far. The UN said the number of possible deaths could change as rescue efforts were expected to continue for days.

PNG media on Monday reported that residents had rescued a couple trapped under rubble after hearing their cries for help.

Johnson and Jacklyn Yandam told local NBC News that they were very grateful and described their rescue as a miracle. "We thank God for saving our lives at that moment. We were certain that we were going to die but the big rocks didn't crush us," Jacklyn said. "It's really hard to explain as we got trapped for nearly eight hours, then got rescued. We believe we were saved for a purpose." About 1,250 people have been displaced by the landslide, which occurred in PNG's Enga province early Friday. More than 150 houses were buried and about 250 houses abandoned.

"The houses are buried under around eight metres (26.3 ft) of dirt. So there is quite a lot of debris to get through," said CARE's McMahon.

Dangerous condition 

Water continued to flow under the debris, the UN migration agency said, making it extremely dangerous for residents and the rescue team to clear debris. Serhan Aktoprak, the chief of the UN migration agency's mission in PNG, told ABC television that emergency crews would continue to look for survivors until the residents asked them to stop.

Aktoprak said that the rescue team had eight vehicles but that he hoped to receive additional resources soon. Tribal violence in the region has raised security concerns for road travel, with the military escorting convoys of rescue teams. Eight people were killed, and five shops and 30 houses burnt down on Saturday, the UN agency said.

PNG gave arrest powers to its military in February amid an eruption of tribal violence that saw at least 26 men killed in an ambush. The landslide hit a section of highway near the Porgera gold mine, operated by Barrick Gold ABX.TO through Barrick Niugini Ltd, its joint venture with China's Zijin Mining 601899. SS. Barrick has said the mine has enough fuel on-site to operate for 40 days and other critical supplies for longer.

(With inputs from agency)

ALSO READ: Papua New Guinea landslide: 670 killed in country's worst-ever tragedy, UN agency estimates

Advertisement

Read all the Breaking News Live on indiatvnews.com and Get Latest English News & Updates from World

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement