Papua New Guinea reports thousands of people buried alive in landslide

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea - Papua New Guinea informed the UN on Monday that more than 2,000 people were buried in a massive landslide that swept over a remote village, according to a copy of the letter obtained by AFP.

People carry bags in the aftermath of a landslide in Enga Province, Papua New Guinea.
People carry bags in the aftermath of a landslide in Enga Province, Papua New Guinea.  © Andrew Ruing/Handout via REUTERS

"The landslide buried more than 2,000 people alive and caused major destruction," the country's national disaster center told the UN office in the capital Port Moresby.

A once-bustling remote hillside village in Enga province was almost wiped out when a chunk of Mount Mungalo collapsed in the early hours of Friday morning, burying scores of homes and the people sleeping inside them.

The landslide caused "major destruction to buildings, food gardens and caused major impact on the economic lifeline of the country," the disaster office said.

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The main highway to Porgera Mine was "completely blocked," it said in the letter, which was received by UN officials on Monday morning.

"The situation remains unstable as the landslip continue to shift slowly, posing ongoing danger to both the rescue teams and survivors alike."

The scale of the catastrophe required "immediate and collaborative actions from all players," it said, including the army, and national and regional responders.

It called on UN to inform Papua New Guinea's development partners "and other international friends" of the latest situation.

Assistance should be coordinated through the disaster center, it said.

Cover photo: Andrew Ruing/Handout via REUTERS

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