Rescue Teams Arrive At Site Of Deadly Landslide In Papua New Guinea

Rescue teams arrive at site of deadly landslide in Papua New Guinea

Port Moresby, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 25th May, 2024) Rescue teams arrived at the site of a massive landslide in Papua New Guinea's remote highlands Saturday, helping villagers search for hundreds of people feared dead under towering mounds of rubble and mud.

The disaster hit an isolated part of Enga province at around 3:00 am Friday, according to government officials, when many villagers were at home asleep.

"At this time, we are still searching for bodies who are buried by the massive landslide," said community leader Mark Ipuia, who feared "more than 300" villagers were entombed.

So far, at least four bodies have been pulled from the debris, a United Nations official based in the capital Port Moresby told AFP on Saturday morning.

"There are a lot of houses under the debris that cannot be reached," said UN official Serhan Aktoprak, who estimated as many as 3,000 people called the hillside settlement home.

"The land continues to slide and move, and that makes it dangerous for people to operate," he told AFP.

Aid agencies said the catastrophe had effectively wiped out the village's livestock, food gardens and sources of clean water.

A rapid response team of medics, military and police began pouring into the disaster zone on Saturday morning after a journey complicated by the rugged terrain and damage to major roads.

"While the area is not densely populated, our concern is that the death toll could be disproportionately high," humanitarian agency CARE said Saturday as the first reinforcements arrived.