Published: 12:07, May 26, 2024 | Updated: 18:01, May 26, 2024
UN official: At least 670 feared dead after huge landslide in PNG
By Xinhua

This handout photo by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on May 25, 2024 shows locals carrying a person on a stretcher from the site of a landslide at Yambali Village in the region of Maip Mulitaka, in Papua New Guinea's Enga province. (PHOTO / AFP)

SYDNEY - The death toll from a massive landslide in Papua New Guinea (PNG) was estimated to surpass 670, an official from the International Organization for Migration told media on Sunday.

According to Serhan Aktoprak, the chief of the United Nations (UN) migration agency's mission in the Pacific island country, the scale of the impact was much greater than initially thought.

In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Aktoprak said that more than 150 houses might be buried under the debris six to eight meters deep and over 670 people could have lost their lives

In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Aktoprak said that more than 150 houses might be buried under the debris six to eight meters deep and over 670 people could have lost their lives.

The area surrounding the disaster zone in Enga province also remained dangerous, with incessant rockfalls and continuous landslides prompting the evacuation of about 1,250 survivors, the official noted.

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At around 3:00 am local time on Friday, a massive landslide battered a remote region in Enga province, located over 600 km northwest of PNG's capital Port Moresby.

The UN office in PNG issued a statement on Saturday, offering its deepest condolences to the victims and their families in the Lagaip Porgera District of Enga province.

This picture shows a demolished house at the site of a landslide at Yambali Village in the region of Maip Mulitaka, in Papua New Guinea's Enga province on May 25, 2024. (PHOTO / AFP)

"While the total number of casualties is yet to be determined, preliminary reporting indicates the death toll may be significant. Search and rescue efforts are underway, although continuous landslides and falling boulders are affecting these efforts," said a spokesperson.