The UN estimates that more than 670 people died in the huge landslide in Papua New Guinea

The UN estimates that more than 670 people died in the huge landslide in Papua New Guinea

The International Organization for Migration, UN agency, rose this Sunday to more than 670 people estimated dead of a huge landslide in Papua New Guinea.

The revised figure was based on calculations by town officials Yambali and the province of Enga about what more than 150 homes had been buried for Friday's incident, said Serhan Aktoprak, head of the IOM mission in the country. The previous estimate was 60 houses.

“They estimate that more than 670 people (are) underground right now”Aktoprak told The Associated Press.

Local authorities had given an initial figure on Friday of 100 deaths or more. By Sunday, only five bodies and the leg of a sixth victim had been recovered.

Landslide in Papua New

emergency personnel moved survivors to safer ground on Sunday while tons of unstable terrain and tribal disputes, spread across the country's highlands, threatened rescue efforts.

Meanwhile, the government of the South Pacific island I was studying whether I needed to officially request more international assistance.

The rescuers had lost hope of finding survivors under between 6 and 8 meters of earth and debris after the landslide devastated part of the town of Yambaliin Enga province, a few hours before dawn on Friday, Aktoprak said.

“Hopes of pulling people alive from the rubble have diminished”Aktroprak told The Associated Press. “People are absorbing it, so there is a considerable mourning and mourning”he added.

Heavy land-moving equipment had not yet reached the mountain town 600 kilometers northwest of the capital, Port Moresby.

The government established evacuation centers on safer grounds on both sides of the enormous mass of debris that covered the area, and that covered an area the size of three to four football fields, in addition to cutting the main highway of the province.

“Working among the rubble is very dangerous and the earth continues to slide”Aktoprak explained.

In addition to the blocked highway, caravans that have brought food, water and other essential supplies since Saturday to the devastated town, which is 60 km from the provincial capital, Wabag, have faced risks associated with the tribal fighting in the town of Tambitanis, around the middle of the route. Papua New Guinea soldiers provided security for the caravans.

Eight residents of the area died on Saturday in an altercation between two rival clans, in an old dispute unrelated to the landslide. Some 30 homes and five shops burned in the clashes, according to local authorities.

Aktoprak said he did not expect fighters to attack the convoys, but noted that opportunistic criminals could take advantage of the chaotic situation to do so.

Violence in the area has challenged the official estimate that almost 4,000 people lived in the town when a slope of Mount Mungalo collapsed.

The numbers of injured and missing were still being reviewed on Sunday. Seven people, including a child, had received medical attention by Saturday, but authorities said they had no details about their condition.

The The town's medical facilities were buried along with more than a hundred houses.several small businesses, a guest house, a school and a gas station, according to authorities.

The country's defense minister, Billy Josephand the director of the National Disaster Center, Laso Handwere traveling from Port Moresby by helicopter to Wabag on Sunday to assess the situation first-hand.

Aktoprak hoped that the government decide by Tuesday whether to request more international help.

USA and Australiaa country close to Papua New Guinea and its main provider of international aid, were among the governments that had offered to assist rescuers.

Papua New Guinea is a Diverse, developing nation with 800 languages ​​and 10 million peoplemostly subsistence farmers.

(With information from AP)