May 28, 2024

Deadly Landslide Buries Over 2,000 in Papua New Guinea

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2,000 people have been buried alive by a landslide that struck the Yambali village in Enga province of Papua New Guinea. Read the transcript here.

Speaker 1 (00:00):

And finally, a deadly landslide has buried more than 2000 people in the oceanic nation of Papua New Guinea. The United Nations says at least 670 people are feared dead. The landslide struck Papua New Guinea on Friday, burying hundreds of homes and the people sleeping inside them. Now the country’s nearest neighbor, Australia, is sending aircraft and equipment to help and rescue efforts. Our final report gets you the details about this tragedy.

Speaker 2 (00:33):

The Oceanic nation of Papua New Guinea is grappling with the aftermath of a deadly landslide. The South Pacific Island says the disaster has buried more than 2000 people alive. The death toll is currently at 670, and authorities say it’s only going to rise. The affected area is in the highlands of Enga, a province located in the north of Papua New Guinea. Authorities say a chunk of a mountain collapsed on Yambali Village in the early hours of Friday, burying scores of homes and people sleeping inside them. The terrain is so challenging that only six bodies have been recovered so far.

The problems for the Papua New Guinea government haven’t stopped with the landslide, as overnight rains battered areas near the affected village. Officials fear that the tons of rubble that buried thousands of villagers could become dangerously unstable. Now, the government of Papua New Guinea has formally asked for international help. It’s nearest neighbor, Australia, is already prepared to send aircraft and other equipment to help at the site of the landslide.

Speaker 3 (01:45):

Our heart goes out to the people of Papua New Guinea and those in Enga Province in the Highlands, who have just experienced the most appalling disaster. And we are very anxious about the numbers around the death toll, which continue to rise. From the moment this occurred on Friday, we reached out to the Papua New Guinean government offering our assistance in whatever we can do, but also specifically talking about what kind of assistance we might be able to provide.

Speaker 2 (02:19):

The United Nations too is helping people in evacuation centers, providing food, water, blankets, and mattresses. Meanwhile, Papua New Guinea says, rescuers are at risk because the land is still sliding and rocks are falling.

Speaker 4 (02:35):

But the problem is it’s so deep. It’s very difficult to recover the bodies from underneath the heavy debris. And the land is still sliding, rocks are continuing to fall. The pressure that is coupled with the heavy bulk on the ground that has not been affected, neighboring, however, the debris is leading to cracks.

Speaker 2 (03:13):

So far, local residents have been forced to abandon 250 homes in the surrounding areas. At least 4,000 people have been displaced as a result of the disaster.

Speaker 5 (03:25):

I have 18 of my family members buried under the debris and soil that I am standing on, and a lot more family members in the village I cannot count. I am the landowner here. Thank you to all those who’ve come to help us. But I cannot retrieve the body, so I am standing here helplessly.

Speaker 2 (03:45):

Rain and falling rocks are not the only challenges that rescuers are facing. Authorities fear the tribal violence near the site of the landslide could complicate relief efforts. Now as the death toll from the landslide in Papua New Guinea continues to rise, one can only hope that more rains do not cause more damage and trauma to the people who survived the tragedy.

Speaker 1 (04:13):

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