Large landslide hits PNG and more than 100 people are feared dead – World

People gather at a location near a landslide in Enga province, Papua New Guinea, on Friday. XINHUA

MELBOURNE, Australia — More than 100 people are believed to have died in a landslide that buried a village in a remote area of ​​Papua New Guinea on Friday, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

The landslide reportedly hit the village of Kaokalam in Enga province, about 600 kilometers northwest of the South Pacific island nation’s capital, Port Moresby, at approximately 3 a.m. local time.

Residents said current estimates of the death toll exceed 100, although authorities have not confirmed this figure. Villagers said the number of people killed could be much higher.

Videos on social media showed locals removing bodies buried under rocks and trees.

Elizabeth Laruma, who runs a women’s business association in Porgera, a town in the same province near the Porgera gold mine, said houses in the town were flattened when a mountainside gave way.

“It happened when people were still sleeping at dawn and the whole town had sunk,” Laruma told ABC. “From what I can guess, this is more than 100 people buried underground.”

More than 50 houses, many with people still sleeping inside, were buried when the landslide hit Kaokalam, villager Ninga Role told Reuters by phone.

The landslide blocked the road between Porgera and the village, he said, raising concerns about the town’s own supply of fuel and goods.

The country’s Prime Minister, James Marape, said in a statement that he had not yet received complete information, but that authorities were responding to the disaster.

“We are sending disaster officials, the PNG Defense Force and the Department of Works and Highways to meet provincial and district officials in Enga and also begin relief work, body recovery and infrastructure reconstruction,” Marape said.

“I will provide more information when I am fully informed about the magnitude of the destruction and loss of life.”

An emergency response team was sent to the northern province of Enga after the landslide, local media reported.

Agencies via Xinhua