670 Feared Buried in Papua New Guinea Landslide- UN

An estimated 670 people are feared to be buried under a massive landslide in Papua New Guinea, according to a UN official.

Serhan Aktoprak, the head of the International Organization for Migration in Papua New Guinea, stated that the impact of the landslide in the remote Enga province on Friday was more severe than initially assessed. “There are an estimated 150-plus houses now buried,” Aktoprak reported.

The landslide struck the highlands of Enga, in the northern part of the island nation in the southwest Pacific. Aktoprak noted that rescuers are facing significant risks because “the land is still sliding.” He added, “The water is running, and this is creating a massive risk for everyone involved.”

Nearly 4,000 people reside in the area affected by the landslide. However, Care Australia, a humanitarian agency assisting with relief efforts, cautioned that the number of people affected is “likely to be higher” due to an influx of individuals fleeing tribal conflicts in neighboring regions.

At least 1,000 people have been displaced following a devastating landslide in Papua New Guinea. Serhan Aktoprak, head of the International Organization for Migration in the country, reported that gardens providing food and water supplies were nearly obliterated.

The landslide occurred around 03:00 local time on Friday (17:00 GMT on Thursday), when most people were likely asleep. “We still don’t know the exact number of fatalities from the landslide and may not know for some time,” a spokesperson for Care Australia said. “However, the time that the landslide occurred suggests that the death toll will rise.”

Aktoprak noted that rescuers were using any means necessary to recover victims: “People are using digging sticks, spades, and large agricultural forks to remove the bodies buried under the soil.”

As of Sunday, only five bodies had been recovered, along with partial remains of another. The debris from the landslide, which includes large boulders, trees, and displaced soil, is up to 8 meters (26 feet) deep in some areas.

The only highway into Enga Province has been heavily obstructed by debris, limiting access to the rescue site. The AFP news agency reported that large machinery was expected to arrive on Sunday to assist with the recovery efforts.

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