More than 2,000 buried alive in Papua New Guinea landslide

May 28, 2024
Relief workers and people gather at a site damaged in the aftermath of a landslide in Enga Province, Papua New Guinea, May 26, 2024. — Reuters

PORT MORESBY: More than 2,000 people are feared buried in a Papua New Guinea landslide that destroyed a remote highland village, the government said on Monday, as it pleaded for international help in the rescue effort.


The once-bustling hillside community in Enga province was almost wiped out when a chunk of Mount Mungalo collapsed early on Friday morning, smothering scores of homes and the people sleeping inside them.

“The landslide buried more than 2,000 people alive and caused major destruction to buildings, food gardens and caused major impact on the economic lifeline of the country,” Papua New Guinea´s national disaster centre said in a letter to the United Nations obtained by AFP.

The main highway to the large Porgera gold mine was “completely blocked”, it told the UN resident coordinator´s office in the capital Port Moresby. The landslip was continuing to “shift slowly, posing ongoing danger to both the rescue teams and survivors alike”, the letter said.

The scale of the catastrophe required “immediate and collaborative actions from all players”, it added, including the army, and national and provincial responders. The centre also called on the UN to inform Papua New Guinea´s development partners “and other international friends” of the crisis. The UN is scheduled to hold an online emergency meeting with foreign governments early on Tuesday.