Landslide in Papua New Guinea: Up to 2,000 people fear being buried by huge landslide

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People gather at a landslide site in Inga Province, Papua New Guinea.



CNN

It is feared that up to 2,000 people may have been buried in the past week Massive landslide In Papua New Guinea, according to the country’s National Disaster Centre, as rescuers scramble to find any survivors in the remote area.

The landslide occurred in the mountainous Inga region in northern Papua New Guinea on Friday, and the latest figure represents a sharp rise from previous estimates.

Shortly after the disaster, the United Nations said that up to 100 people may have died. This was later revised to 670, according to estimates by the IOM head of mission in the country.

But this may now be a significant underestimate according to the latest forecasts from Papua New Guinea’s disaster agency.

“The landslide buried more than 2,000 people alive, caused major destruction to buildings and food gardens, and caused a major impact on the country’s economic lifeline,” Lucity Lasso Mana, acting director of the National Disaster Centre, said in a letter to the United Nations.

“The situation remains unstable as the landslide continues to move slowly, posing a continuing danger to rescue teams and survivors alike,” he added, adding that the main highway leading to the area was completely closed due to the landslide.

He added: “After the examination conducted by the team, it was found that the damage is extensive and requires immediate and cooperative action from all players.”

Landslide Hit the remote village of Kawkalamabout 600 kilometers (372 miles) northwest of the capital, Port Moresby, at about 3 a.m. local time on Friday, leaving a debris scar that aid workers said was as large as Four football fields.

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Officials said on Sunday that more than 150 homes in the village of Yambali were buried under rubble. Officials said the area still poses a “severe hazard”, with rocks continuing to fall and the subterranean soil under continued increasing pressure.



01:20- Source: CNN

Aerial footage shows the aftermath of a massive landslide in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is home to about 10 million people. Its vast mountainous terrain and lack of roads have made it difficult to reach the affected area.

Pierre Rognon, associate professor at the University of Sydney’s School of Civil Engineering, said it was “particularly difficult” for rescuers to find survivors after a landslide.

“Landslides can bury collapsed structures and people under tens of meters of ground material,” he said.

To make matters worse, they can move buildings and detain people hundreds of metres. No one can predict exactly where potential survivors will be located and where to begin searching for them.

It is not clear what caused the landslide, but geology professor Alan Collins from the University of Adelaide said it occurred in an area with “heavy rainfall”.

“Although the landslide does not appear to be directly caused by an earthquake, repeated earthquakes caused by plate collisions build steep slopes and high mountains that can become very unstable,” Collins said.

Rainfall may have altered the minerals that make up the bedrock, weakening the rocks that make up the steep hillsides, he said.

“Vegetation mitigates this as tree roots can stabilize the ground, and deforestation can increase the spread of landslides by destroying this biological network,” he said.

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