As many as 2,000 people feared buried under Papua New Guinea landslide


People gather at the site of a landslide in Papua New Guinea's Enga Province. Stringer/AFP/Getty Images

By Heather Chen, Sophie Jeong and Lucas Lilieholm, May 27: As many as 2,000 people are feared to have been buried by last week’s massive landslide in Papua New Guinea, according to the country’s National Disaster Centre, as rescuers scramble to find any survivors in the remote region.

The landslide occurred in the mountainous Enga region in northern Papua New Guinea on Friday and the latest figure is a sharp rise from earlier estimates.

Soon after the disaster occurred, the United Nations said as many as 100 may have died. That was later revised up to 670, according to estimates from the Chief of Mission for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the country.

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

“The landslide buried more than 2000 people alive and caused major destruction to buildings, and food gardens and caused major impact on the economic lifeline of the country,” Lusete Laso Mana, Acting Director of the National Disaster Centre, said in a letter to the UN.

“The situation remains unstable as the landslip continues to shift slowly, posing an ongoing danger to both rescue teams and survivors alike,” he added, saying the main highway to the area had been completely blocked by the landslide.

“Following the inspection conducted by the team, it was determined that the damages are extensive and require immediate and collaborative actions from all players.”

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