Landslide Buries Dozens Of Homes, Claims Hundreds Of Lives In Northern Papua New Guinea

Hundreds of people have been reported dead with many still missing as a massive landslide flattened dozens of homes and buried many families alive in a remote village in northern Papua New Guinea (PNG) in the early hours of Friday.

A villager, Ninga Role, reported that more than 50 homes that were occupied as people slept were buried when the landslide struck Kaokalam village around 3 a.m. He added that the death toll stands at nearly 300, including his own brother and cousin.

According to Australian Broadcasting Corp over 100 people have died.

Role recounted that one man, attempting to rescue his two children, was buried alongside his extended family. Social media footage shared by Role depicts scenes of desperate individuals climbing over rocks, uprooted trees, and mounds of earth in search of survivors, with the anguished cries of women audible in the background.

He stated, “It’s very impossible, the area covered by the landslide is large and there are rocks and trees everywhere. It’s very difficult to get them out.”

The village is located in Enga province, approximately 600 km (370 miles) north of the capital Port Moresby.

Prime Minister James Marape mentioned in a statement that though he hasn’t received a comprehensive briefing, the authorities are actively addressing the disaster.

Marape said, “We are sending in disaster officials, PNG Defence Force, and the Department of Works and Highways to meet provincial and district officials in Enga and also start relief work, recovery of bodies, and reconstruction of infrastructure.”

“I will release further information as I am fully briefed on the scale of destruction and loss of lives,” he added.

The landslide struck a portion of the highway close to the Porgera gold mine, which is managed by Barrick Niugini Ltd, a joint venture between Barrick Gold and China’s Zijin Mining.

 A spokesperson stated that it’s premature to determine if the mine sustained any damage, noting that it has adequate supplies to continue normal operations in the short term.

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