Papua New Guinea landslide: 2,000 feared buried by massive landslide, survivors dig with hands and shovels



CNN

It is feared that 2,000 people may have been buried in the past week Massive landslide In Papua New Guinea, survivors described the horror of losing many loved ones, according to the country’s National Disaster Center.

A landslide hit the mountainous Enga region in northern Papua New Guinea on Friday and the latest number of missing is a sharp rise from earlier estimates.

Residents are suffering as tons of rock and mud entered the houses where they were sleeping. Rescuers have struggled to reach the remote region, already one of Asia’s poorest countries.

Evid Kampu shared that she lost more than a dozen family members in the disaster.

“I have 18 members of my family buried under the debris and dirt where I am standing, and I cannot count many more family members in the village,” he told Reuters news agency. “I’m the landowner here… but I can’t recover the bodies, so I’m standing here helplessly.”

Mohammed Omar/International Organization for Migration/AP

A landslide in Yambali, Papua New Guinea, on Sunday, May 26

Myok Michael, a local community leader, told CNN that the number of survivors may be few. “People gather and mourn,” he said. “People have been digging since day one, but they could not find the bodies because they were covered by huge rocks. Only machines do.”

Immediately after the disaster, the United Nations said 100 people may have died. It was later revised up to 670, according to an estimate by the head of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the country.

But that may now be a major underestimate, according to the latest projections from Papua New Guinea’s disaster agency.

“The landslide left more than 2,000 people alive, destroyed buildings, food gardens and severely affected the country’s economic livelihood,” National Disaster Center Executive Director Lucette Laso Mana said in a letter to the UN.

“The situation is unstable as the landslide is moving slowly, posing danger to rescue teams and survivors alike,” he added, adding that the main highway to the area has been completely blocked by the landslide.

Chris Jensen, World Vision’s PNG national director, told CNN that rescue workers were “clearly aware of the scale of the disaster”.

“It is a massive landslide. It’s quite amazing – an entire mountain fell on several houses in the middle of the night.

“We can’t create more problems on the ground … so we have to be very careful in responding now,” Jensen said.

Justin McMahon, PNG country director of global humanitarian agency CARE International, said the full death toll was still unknown because only a few bodies had been recovered.

“The authorities are very effective and very responsive and working around the clock … but with the scale of this disaster and the (number of) people affected, I think there will be resources needed from the broader aid community,” McMahon told CNN. .

“Today was a big challenge, the ground is still unstable,” he added.

“Because homes are buried 8 meters (over 26 feet) of dirt, it will be difficult to reach some of the victims,” ​​McMahon said.



01:20 – Source: CNN

Aerial footage shows the aftermath of a massive landslide in Papua New Guinea

Check out this interactive content on CNN.com

Serhan Aktobrak of the UN agency International Organization for Migration (IOM) told Reuters that teams on the ground were “trying to rescue everything they could using digging sticks, shovels, farm forks and their hands”.

Landslide A distant Kakalam village was attackedAbout 600 kilometers (372 miles) northwest of the capital, Port Moresby, at 3 a.m. local time on Friday, it left what humanitarian workers said was a trail of debris. Four football fields.

More than 150 houses in Yambali village were buried under the rubble, officials said on Sunday. Officials said the area continues to pose a “serious risk” as the rock continues to fall, exposing the subsoil to ever-increasing pressure.

Papua New Guinea is home to about 10 million people. Access to the affected area is difficult due to its vast mountainous terrain and lack of roads.

Pierre Rognon, an associate professor at the University of Sydney’s School of Civil Engineering, said finding rescuers in landslides was “particularly challenging”.

“Landslides can bury people under collapsed structures and dozens of meters of geomaterials,” he said.

“To make matters worse, they can move structures and trap people hundreds of meters away. No one can predict exactly where survivors might be and where to look for them.

It is not clear what caused the landslide, but Geology Professor Alan Collins from the University of Adelaide said it occurred in an area with “significant rainfall”.

“Although landslides do not appear to be directly induced by earthquakes, frequent earthquakes caused by plate collisions create steep slopes and high mountains that become more unstable,” Collins said.

He said precipitation may have altered the minerals that make up the rocks, weakening the rock that forms the steep mountainsides.

“Vegetation mitigates this because tree roots stabilize the land and deforestation can make landslides more likely by destroying this biological mesh,” he said.

“We have to look at what’s causing this,” said World Vision’s Jensen.

“There are no reports of earthquakes at this time, but we’ve had a lot of rain and unseasonal weather across Papua New Guinea,” Jensen said.

“There is flooding in other provinces and we have a lot of challenges with climate change, so we will do more assessments and analysis to find out what caused this.”

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