More than 100 feared dead in massive landslide in Papua New Guinea


Melbourne, Australia More than 100 people are believed to have died in a landslide that buried a village in a remote part of Papua New Guinea on Friday, the Australian Broadcasting Corp reported.

ABC reports the landslide hit the village of Kaokalam in Enga province, about 370 miles northwest of the South Pacific island's capital Port Moresby, at about 3 a.m. local

Residents say current estimates of the death toll are higher than 100, although authorities have not confirmed that figure. Locals said the number of people killed could be much higher.

Videos on social media show locals pulling out bodies that were buried under rocks and trees.

People gather at the site of a massive landslide in Papua New Guinea's Enga province on May 24, 2024.

STR/AFP via Getty Images

Papua New Guinea's government and police did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Elizabeth Laruma, who runs a women's business association in Porgera, a town in the same province near the Porgera gold mine, said houses in the village were flattened when a mountainside gave way .

“It happened when people were still sleeping in the early hours and the whole village fell,” Laruma told the ABC. “As far as I can tell, there are about 100 more people buried underground.”

The landslide blocked the road between Porgera and the village, he said, and raised concerns about the village's own supply of fuel and goods.

Village resident Ninga Role, who was outside when the landslide occurred, expects at least four of her family members to have died.

“There are some huge rocks and plants, trees. Buildings collapsed,” Role said. “These things are making it difficult to find the bodies quickly.”

People gather at the site of a massive landslide in Papua New Guinea's Enga province on May 24, 2024.

STR/AFP via Getty Images

Reuters reports that local media said the landslide affected operations at the Porgera gold mine, which is operated by Barrick Gold through Barrick Niugini Ltd, a joint venture with Chinese miner Zijin. Barrick Gold did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment outside regular business hours.

Papua New Guinea is a diverse and developing nation of mostly subsistence farmers with 800 languages. There are few roads outside the larger cities.

With 10 million people, it is also the most populous South Pacific nation after Australia, which is home to about 27 million.

Located just south of the equator, the area receives frequent heavy rains, notes Agence France-Presse, which adds that this year there have been heavy rains and floods. In March, at least 23 people died in a landslide in a nearby province.


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