How Landslide buries over 2000 alive in Papua New Guinea

Landslide buries 2000 alive

 Catastrophic Landslide in Enga Province Triggers Urgent Call for International Aid at Mulitaka Village, Papua New Guinea –

More than 2,000 individuals are feared buried following a devastating landslide in Papua New Guinea’s remote highland village of Mulitaka, Enga Province. The government has issued an urgent plea for international assistance in the rescue operations.

The landslide, which struck early Friday morning, obliterated the once-thriving community at the base of Mount Mungalo. Homes, buildings, and essential infrastructure were engulfed, with the national disaster centre describing extensive destruction to property, food sources, and the local economy.

In a statement to the United Nations, the disaster centre detailed the scale of the tragedy and requested immediate support from international partners. The landslide has also blocked a critical highway leading to the Porgera gold mine, exacerbating the region’s isolation.

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“The landslide buried more than 2,000 people alive and caused major destruction to buildings, food gardens, and the economic lifeline of the country,” the centre reported. The disaster continues to pose significant risks as the unstable terrain threatens rescuers and survivors alike.

International Response Mobilized

The United Nations has scheduled an emergency meeting with foreign governments to coordinate a complex relief effort. The operation is hindered by the site’s rugged terrain, severed road links, and ongoing tribal conflicts. Rescue teams, armed with basic tools like shovels and wooden planks, struggle to locate and recover bodies from the massive landslide debris, which is estimated to be up to eight meters deep.

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Jacob Sowai, a schoolteacher from a nearby village, conveyed the despair felt by the community: “Nobody escaped. We don’t know who died because records are buried.”

Serhan Aktoprak from the UN migration agency highlighted the ongoing danger: “The landmass is still sliding, rocks are falling from the mountain,” he said, noting that water streams and land cracks could trigger further slides.

Global Condolences and Aid Promises

Global leaders have expressed their condolences and offered support. Australian authorities pledged emergency relief supplies, while China’s President Xi Jinping, U.S. President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida have all extended assistance. The World Health Organization is also prepared to provide aid.

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Climate and Tribal Conflict Complications

Local reports suggest heavy rainfall in recent weeks may have triggered the landslide. Papua New Guinea, known for its wet climate, faces increased landslide risks due to changing rainfall patterns associated with climate change.

The disaster has displaced over 1,000 people, and efforts to deliver humanitarian aid are further complicated by unrelated tribal conflicts in the area. Nicholas Booth of the UN Development Programme noted that the population in the affected area had swelled due to people fleeing tribal violence, making accurate casualty estimates challenging.

As rescue operations continue under perilous conditions, the government and international community remain focused on providing critical aid to those affected by this catastrophic event.