Published: 11:20, May 25, 2024 | Updated: 12:55, May 25, 2024
Media: More than 300 buried in Papua New Guinea landslide
By Reuters
People cross over the landslide area to get to the other side in Yambali village, Papua New Guinea, May 24, 2024. (PHOTO / INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MIGRATION VIA AP)

SYDNEY - More than 300 people and over 1,100 houses were buried by a massive landslide that leveled a remote village in northern Papua New Guinea, local media reported on Saturday.

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Hundreds are feared dead in the landslide that hit Kaokalam village in Enga Province, about 600 km northwest of the capital Port Moresby, around 3 am on Friday.

The landslide has blocked highway access, making helicopters the only way to reach the area, the broadcaster reported

The landslide in the Pacific nation north of Australia buried more than 300 people and 1,182 houses, the Papua New Guinea Post Courier said, citing comments from a member of the country's parliament, Aimos Akem. Akem did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment via social media.

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More than six villages had been impacted by the landslide in the province's Mulitaka region, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said on Saturday.

"Australia’s High Commission in Port Moresby is in close contact with PNG authorities for further assessments on the extent of the damage and casualties," a DFAT spokesperson said in a statement.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp reported on Saturday that four bodies had been retrieved from the area after emergency teams reached the sparsely populated area, where the death toll is expected to rise.

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The landslide has blocked highway access, making helicopters the only way to reach the area, the broadcaster reported.

Social media footage posted by villager Ninga Role showed people clambering over rocks, uprooted trees and mounds of dirt searching for survivors. Women could be heard weeping in the background.

Prime Minister James Marape has said disaster officials, the Defence Force and the Department of Works and Highways were assisting with relief and recovery efforts.