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Over 2,000 People Buried Alive in Papua New Guinea Landslide, Say Local Authorities

According to the national disaster center in Papua New Guinea, over 2,000 individuals were tragically buried alive by a massive landslide last week. The challenging terrain and difficulties in providing aid to the site suggest that the chances of finding survivors are slim.

The estimates of those buried near Yambali village in Enga province have been steadily increasing since the landslide on Friday. The U.N. agency reported an estimated death toll of more than 670 people on Sunday.

In a letter released on Monday, the National Disaster Centre revised the toll to 2,000 and highlighted the extensive destruction caused by the landslide to buildings and food gardens.

The unstable landscape and remote location of the area, compounded by tribal conflicts, are hindering relief efforts in Papua New Guinea. Emergency teams, including PNG’s defense personnel, are on the ground, but the challenging conditions have delayed rescue operations.

Social media footage captures villagers and media teams working tirelessly to find survivors, with six bodies recovered so far. The number of possible deaths may fluctuate as the rescue efforts continue for days.

Local media in PNG reported the miraculous rescue of a couple trapped under rubble, emphasizing the desperate situation facing the affected communities. Approximately 1,250 individuals have been displaced, with hundreds of houses buried or abandoned.

Dangerous Conditions

The U.N. migration agency highlighted the perilous conditions under the debris, as water continues to flow, posing risks to residents and rescue teams. Despite the challenges, emergency crews remain committed to finding survivors until requested otherwise by residents.

Security concerns due to tribal violence have prompted military escorts for rescue convoys, with recent reports of fatalities and property damage in the region. The landslide near the Porgera gold mine has impacted operations, raising additional concerns about critical supplies and safety measures.

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