Landslide kills dozens in Papua New Guinea

About a 100 people have been killed following a colossal landslide which wreaked havoc in Papua New Guinea’s Enga province, devastating the Kaokalam village, various reports have said.

Papua New Guinea
People gather at the site of a landslide in Maip Mulitaka in Papua New Guinea's Enga province. Photo Credit: AFP

About 100 people have been killed following a colossal landslide which wreaked havoc in Papua New Guinea’s Enga province, devastating the Kaokalam village, various reports have said.

According to local officials and aid groups, the accident occurred around 3 am local time (17:00 GMT Thursday), approximately 600km (370 miles) northwest of the capital, Port Moresby. The village, predominantly home to subsistence farmers, is located in a remote and steep area where landslides are not uncommon.

Photos from the disaster site posted on social media, show a large piece of the hill blasted away, with a tremendous track of rock, earth, and uprooted trees flowing down into the valley. Among the wreckage, the ruins of corrugated tin shelters may be seen buried beneath debris.

Dozens of indigenes, now rescuers, crawl over the wreckage, digging and shouting out for survival. The sight is one of sad desperation, as they dig up victims buried beneath the rocks and fallen trees.

President of the local Community Development Association, Vincent Pyati, reported that around 100 houses were buried in the landslide. “The number of victims is unknown,” he added as quoted by Aljazeera.

Enga’s provincial governor, Peter Ipatas, described the landslide as “massive” and confirmed significant loss of life and property, with at least six villages affected. Prime Minister James Marape also assured the public that disaster officials, the PNG Defence Force, and the Department of Works and Highways are mobilizing to assist with relief efforts, 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 stated.

Ongoing concerns

The slide also damaged a section of highway near the Porgera Gold Mine, which is run by Barrick Gold in a joint venture with China’s Zijin Mining. While the mine’s operations are undisturbed, the situation is constantly monitored.

The Papua New Guinea Red Cross and CARE, among other assistance agencies, are actively gathering information and coordinating relief operations. The region, located just south of the equator, is prone to torrential rains which have been especially severe this year. In March, a similar landslip killed at least 23 people in a neighbouring region.

More from Qonversations

News

South Korea Factory fire

Tragic lithium battery factory fire in South Korea: What we know

News

Synagogue attack in Russia

#TrendsArena: ‘Foul play’ leads diverse perspectives on synagogue blast in Russia

News

Michael Usi Malawi

Malawi swears in top comedian Micheal Usi as vice president

News

Friedel Dausab NAMIBIA

#TrendsArena: Namibia decriminalises homosexuality, here’s how social media responded

Front of mind