At least 100 people died after a landslide in Papua New Guinea

At least 100 people died after a landslide in Papua New Guinea

The landslide has buried 1,182 houses, in a town where 3,895 people live

It is estimated that more than 100 people died this Friday in a landslide that buried a village in a remote, mountainous area of Papua New Guinea. An emergency response is underway, officials in the South Pacific island nation said.

The landslide hit the province of Engaabout 600 kilometers northwest of the capital, Port Moresbyat approximately 3 a.m., reported Australian Broadcasting Corp. Residents of the surrounding areas said parts of the community are buried by rocks and trees and the village is now isolated.

Furthermore, they indicated that the estimates of the number of deaths They exceeded 100, although authorities have not confirmed that figure. Local media reports said the number of people killed could be much bigger, although they did not cite sources.

Amos Akem, MP from Enga province, said: “According to reports collected on the ground, the landslide buried more than 300 people and 1,182 houses”, picked up The Guardian.

The head of the mission of the International Organization for Migration in Papua New Guinea, Serhan Aktoprak, clarified that it was the village of Yambali the affected one, which is about two hours' drive from Wabag, the provincial capital of Enga. This is located along a road that leaves the capital and is now blocked upwhich hampers relief effortsAktoprak told the agency AP.

The ground continues to slidemaking it very difficult to operate in,” he said, citing first-hand reports from IOM staff and others deployed from the provincial capital to the affected village.

He said the affected area covered the size of three or four football fields and that 3,895 people live in the town. Some houses in the village were saved from the landslide, he said, but the total number of victims is not yet known.

Aktoprak, speaking by phone from Papua's capital, Port Moreseby, said that “given the magnitude of the disaster,” he feared the death toll could be higher than original estimates of about 100. “The water is inaccessible in the affected area, power lines are down and the villagers are likely to have difficulties in accessing foodAktoprak said. “The immediate needs are shelter, other non-food items (such as) blankets and sheets, food and drinking water,” he added.

ABC had previously named the affected village as Kaokalam. It was not possible to immediately reconcile the different names. Prime Minister James Marape said authorities were responding and that he would release information about the destruction and loss of life when it became available.

“I am not yet fully informed about the situation. However, I extend my deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the landslide disaster in the early hours of this morning,” Marape said in a statement.

“We are sending disaster officials, the PNG Defense Force and the Department of Public Works and Highways to … begin relief work, recovery of bodies and reconstruction of infrastructure,” he added.

Australia, a close neighbor and Papua New Guinea's most generous foreign aid provider, said the government was willing to help. “We send our deepest condolences to the people of PNG following the landslide,” Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong posted on social media. “The loss of life and destruction is devastating,” she added. “As friends and partners, Australia is ready to help in relief and recovery efforts.”

Videos on social media showed residents removing bodies buried under rocks and trees. Elizabeth Laruma, who runs a women's business association in Porgera, said Homes were leveled when a mountainside gave way.

“It happened when people were still sleeping in the early hours of the morning and the entire town sank,” Laruma told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “From what I can guess, there are over 100 people buried underground. “The road between Porgera and the village was blocked, he said, causing concern about the city's supply of fuel and goods.

A resident of the village, Ninga Role, who was outside when the landslide occurred, believes that at least four of his relatives have died. “There are some huge stones, plants and trees. The buildings collapsed,” he lamented. “These things make it difficult to find the bodies”.

Belinda Kora, reporter for ABC based in Port Moresby, said the helicopters They were the only way to access the village, which is located in the inland mountainous region known as the Highlands.

Papua New Guinea is a diverse and developing nation, mostly subsistence farmers who speak 800 languages. There are few roads outside the larger cities. With 10 million inhabitants, it is also the most populous nation in the South Pacific after Australia, which is home to about 27 million.

Telecommunications are poor, particularly outside Port Moresby, where government data shows 56% of the country's social media users reside. Only 1.66 million people in the entire country use the Internet and 85% of the population lives in rural areas.

(With information from AP)