Monday, June 17, 2024

Six villages hit by landslides in Papua New Guinea: – Unparalleled natural disaster


Large remote areas are affected by landslides in Papua New Guinea. At least a hundred people are said to have died. Photo: International Organization for Migration via AP / NTB

Of NTB | 24.05.2024 22:01:03

Accidents and natural disasters: The TV channel ABC first reported that the village of Kaokalam in Enga province, around 600 kilometers north-west of the capital Port Moresby, had been hit at 3 o’clock in the morning. But several village names are mentioned, and the extent is still unclear.

The local provincial governor, Peter Ipatas, tells the AFP news agency that six villages have been affected by the landslide. He describes the situation as a “natural disaster without parallel”.

A crisis group consisting of health workers, the military, the police and several UN organizations has been dispatched. Red Cross country manager Janet Philemon tells AFP that the affected area is remote, and that it may take up to two days for help to arrive. The earth masses are still moving, and local minor roads are blocked.

The head of the International Organization for Migration’s office in Papua New Guinea, Serhan Aktoprak, says that the village of Yambali has been hit hard. It is a two-hour drive from Enga province’s capital, Wabag.

On the phone from Port Moresby, Aktoprak says the affected area is the size of three to four football pitches, and Yambali has a population of 3,900 people. He says that the water supply in the area is down, the power lines have been cut and there is a shortage of food and essential supplies.

Locals say they currently estimate that there are more than 100 dead, but the authorities have not confirmed this figure.

People in the village say the number of dead could also be significantly higher. Videos shared on social media show bodies being pulled out of the race area.

Papua New Guinea is a diverse developing country where agriculture is the main industry. There are few roads outside the big cities. The country has around 11 million people and is the second most populous country in the South Pacific after Australia with its 27 million people.

Around 800 different languages ​​are registered in the archipelago. Telecommunications are poorly developed, especially outside the capital. Only 1.66 million people are connected to the internet.

Prime Minister James Marape says that the authorities are putting all their efforts into helping, but that there are few details. Neighboring Australia says it is ready to assist. Australia is the country that provides the most aid to Papua New Guinea.

The Red Cross estimates the number of injured and dead at between 100 and 500, but Philemon says that she is “working to form a clearer picture of what the situation is”.

– The landslide hit around three o’clock last night, and it looks like more than 100 houses were buried. It is not yet known how many people were in the houses, says Vincent Pyati, head of an organization that works with development in the area, to AFP.

(© NTB)


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