Papua New Guinea Landslide Tragedy: Rescue Efforts Continue Amidst Debris

Emergency crews in Papua New Guinea are tirelessly working to rescue survivors after a devastating landslide in the Enga province. Over 670 people are feared dead, and around 1,250 are displaced. Dangerous conditions are hampering rescue efforts, with heavy equipment unable to reach the remote village. International aid has been pledged.

Reuters | Sydney | Updated: 27-05-2024 04:27 IST | Created: 27-05-2024 04:27 IST
Papua New Guinea Landslide Tragedy: Rescue Efforts Continue Amidst Debris
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Emergency crews in Papua New Guinea on Monday continued their rescue efforts to find survivors after more than 670 people were feared killed in a massive landslide which flattened a remote village in the Pacific nation's northern region. The United Nations migration agency on Sunday said some 1,250 people had been displaced from the landslide that occurred in Papua New Guinea's (PNG) Enga province early morning on Friday. More than 150 houses were buried and around 250 houses nearby have been abandoned by inhabitants.

"The houses are buried under around eight metres (26.3 ft) of dirt. So there is quite a lot of debris to get through," aid group CARE International PNG country director Justine McMahon told ABC television on Monday. McMahon said dangerous conditions and unstable land were hampering rescue efforts. An estimated 4,000 people were living near the impacted area, she said.

Residents have rescued a couple, who had been trapped under the rubble, after they heard their cry for help, media reported. Social media footage posted by villagers and local media teams showed people scaling rocks, with many digging with shovels, sticks and their bare hands to find survivors. Women could be heard weeping in the background in videos.

Emergency crews, including the PNG defence engineering team, were on the ground but heavy equipment required for the rescue had yet to reach the village as the main road remains cut off and the only access was via helicopter. Neighbour Australia and France, which rules the Pacific island of nearby New Caledonia, have said they stand ready to assist PNG.

There has been no official counts on the deaths though the U.N. migration agency on Sunday estimated more than 670 people may have died, more than double the initial number of possible fatalities reported by the PNG media. The U.N. said only six bodies had been retrieved from the rubble so far.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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