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Papua New Guinea landslide: 7,400 evacuated; rescue efforts ineffective

Papua New Guinea landslide: 7,400 evacuated; rescue efforts ineffective

Port Moresby/Papua New Guinea: The government of Papua New Guinea evacuated around 7,400 people from remote villages near the site of the landslide. According to the administration, some 2,000 people were buried in the landslide that destroyed an entire community in the wee hours of May 24, Agence France-Presse reported.

The location of the site in a remote area, as well as the severed road connection, have made the rescue mission here difficult. There is also heavy rainfall and nearby tribal violence, which affects the rescue mission, according to provincial administrator Sandis Tsaka. He said that there are still the aftereffects of the landslide as clumps of limestone, dirt, and rock keep shearing off Mount Mungalo. Amid these issues, evacuation of the 7,400 was also a challenge.

Tsaka told AFP that the landslide was still alive, and every hour, the breaking of stones, like a blast or a gunshot, was heard, and rocks kept falling down.

AFP reports that satellite images from a day ago showed a large-scale disaster at the site. A large smear of yellow and grey debris was seen cutting through green vegetation and severing a road.

Authorities were working through debris for four days and nights using shovels and digging sticks.

According to Tsaka, the disaster-hit area was heavily populated with homes, businesses, churches, and schools, and it was completely wiped out. The area has turned into the “surface of the moon- it is just rocks”, AFP quoted him. Due to low resources with the government, people are using “hands and fingers” to dig through the debris, he said, failing to meet the enormity of the disaster.

He said that Papua New Guinea Defence Forces are trying to access the site with heavy earth-moving equipment, but there could be hardly any survivors, and rescues would be left with the grim job of body recovery, he stated.

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TAGS:landslidePapua New GuinearescueWorld News
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