PHOTOS: Papua New Guinea village hit by large landslide, 100 houses buried, several feared dead


Friday, 24 May 2024 (15:03 IST)
A major landslide struck Papua New Guinea's highlands overnight on Friday, local officials and aid groups said, with many feared dead. 
The landslide hit the village of Kaokalam in the remote Enga province at around 3 a.m. local time as people slept. 
Images from the scene showed a large chunk of rock and soil cleaved off from a hill overlooking the village. 

Provincial Governor Peter Ipatas told the AFP news agency that the event had caused "loss of life and property." 
Roughly 100 houses buried
The extent of the disaster was not immediately clear, but Australian broadcaster ABC and other media in the region quoted locals and their relatives who said they feared approximately 100 people could be trapped or crushed beneath the rubble. 
The president of the local Community Development Association, Vincent Pyati, gave a similar assessment to AFP. 
"The landslide hit around 3 (a.m.) last night and it looks like more than 100 houses got buried," he said. "It is not yet known how many people were in those houses." 
Villagers could be seen on videos shared online trying to conduct search and rescue operations themselves with what equipment was to hand. 
Remote site, battered by heavy rains this year
Enga province is sparsely populated and difficult to access, located inland in the northern half of Papua New Guinea. The site of the landslide is roughly 600 kilometers (around 380 miles) northwest of the capital Port Moresby. 
Sitting just south of the equator, the area frequently faces heavy rains, with intense rainfall and flooding this year. It's also volcanically and seismically active. 
A landslide in March killed at least 23 people in a nearby province. 
Aid agencies like the Papua New Guinea Red Cross and CARE said that they had confirmation of the incident but were still working to learn more and hopefully reach the scene. 
The Australian government offered its sympathies and said it was enquiring with local authorities about whether any Australians may have been involved. Papua New Guinea is situated to the north of the coast of the northeastern state of Queensland. 

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