Thousands buried alive after massive landslide over remote village in Papua New Guinea

27 May 2024, 07:57

Around 2,000 people have been buried alive
Around 2,000 people have been buried alive. Picture: Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

More than 2,000 people have been buried alive in a massive landslide that swept over a remove village in Papua New Guinea, the country's disaster agency has said.

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"The landslide buried more than 2,000 people alive and caused major destruction to buildings, food gardens and caused major impact on the economic lifeline of the country," the UN office in the capital Port Moresby was told on Monday.

A chunk of Mount Mungalo collapsed in the early hours of Friday morning, burying homes and those sleeping inside of them.

It took place in a remote village in the Enga province, which is located around 370 miles northwest of the capital Port Moresby.

The United Nations previously estimated that around 670 people had been killed in the landslide.

Rescue efforts are being hampered as the landslip continues to shift slowly, the country's national disaster centre has warned.

Thousands were buried alive
Thousands were buried alive. Picture: Alamy

The centre warned that it needs "immediate and collaborative actions from all players", including the army, as well as national and regional responders.

Australia has said it is prepared to send aircraft and other equipment to help at the site of the deadly landslide in Papua New Guinea.

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However, poor weather and overnight rains in the South Pacific nation's mountainous region have sparked new fears that the tons of rubble that buried hundreds of villagers could soon become dangerously unstable.

Australian defence minister Richard Marles said officials have been talking with their Papua New Guinea counterparts since the mountainside collapsed on Yambali village in Enga province on Friday.

Papua New Guinea landslide kills thousands
Papua New Guinea landslide kills thousands. Picture: Alamy

"The exact nature of the support that we do provide will play out over the coming days," Mr Marles told the ABC.

"We've got obviously airlift capacity to get people there. There may be other equipment that we can bring to bear in terms of the search and rescue and all of that we are talking through with PNG right now," he added.

Papua New Guinea is Australia's nearest neighbour, and the countries are developing closer defence ties as part of an Australian effort to counter China's growing influence in the region.

Australia is also the most generous provider of foreign aid to its former colony, which became independent in 1975.

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