Many Die, as Landslide Buries 100 Homes in Papua New Guinea

24th May 2024

A massive landslide is feared to have killed many after it struck six remote villages in Papua New Guinea, local officials and aid agencies said.

The landslide buried more than 100 homes after it struck at around 5:00 p.m. on Friday in the highlands of Enga, north of the island nation in the south-west Pacific.

It was not immediately clear how many people were trapped in the rubble and no casualties have been officially confirmed.

Enga governor Peter Ipatas told AFP news agency it was an “unprecedented natural disaster”.

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister, James Marape, said his government had sent disaster officials to the landslide site to “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,” Marape said in a statement.

Images online show dozens of people climbing onto fallen boulders to survey the damage from the landslide.

Many houses appeared to have collapsed and trees uprooted.

Rescuers are having a hard time sifting through the debris, reports stated.

People can be heard crying and yelling on a video posted by Facebook user Kindupan Kambii from Kaokalam village in Enga.

There are reports of deaths and multiple casualties, but the exact numbers haven’t been confirmed yet,” said a spokesman from Papua New Guinea’s Red Cross Society.

He added that an emergency response team made up of officials from the provincial governor’s office, police, defence forces, and local NGOs has deployed to the site.

International humanitarian organisation CARE told the BBC it is “currently undergoing a situation assessment” on the incident.

Enga is more than 600km by road from the country’s capital, Port Moresby.

Credit: BBC