Disaster management: Landslide in Papua New Guinea: 2000 deaths feared

Disaster management
Landslide in Papua New Guinea: 2000 deaths feared

Hundreds of deaths are feared after a landslide in the remote highlands of Papua New Guinea. Some villages were completely buried. Photo

© Benjamin Sipa/International Organization for Migration/AP/dpa

The extent of the landslide in Papua New Guinea is devastating. The disaster control agency says there are at least 2,000 victims. Rescuers still hope to find survivors.

The national Disaster management in Papua New Guinea fears at least 2,000 deaths after Friday’s devastating landslide. This is according to a statement from the government agency that was made available to the German Press Agency.

The landslide occurred on Friday night (local time) in a remote highland area of ​​the Pacific island state. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Papua New Guinea had estimated the number of dead at around 670 on Sunday.

The main road to the region is completely blocked, the disaster relief letter addressed to the United Nations in the capital Port Moresby continued. “The situation remains unstable as the landslide continues to slowly shift, posing an ongoing danger to both rescue teams and survivors.”

Race against time

Rescue workers are fighting desperately to rescue survivors from the earth and rock masses. “We can only hope that in the short time we have left we can at least help to save more lives,” Australian broadcaster AAP quoted IOM mission chief Serhan Aktoprak as saying on Monday. “But time is working against us.” Aktoprak told the German Press Agency: “Three and a half days after the landslide, the chances are very slim,”

Videos from the disaster area showed people walking barefoot and using only shovels to try to find relatives and friends under the huge masses of rubble. According to Aktoprak, most of the houses were buried six to eight meters deep under the rubble. The United Nations has meanwhile helped set up evacuation centers for those affected.


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