“Race against time” – 2,000 people buried under landslide in Papua New Guinea


Local authorities say more than 2,000 people have been buried in the devastating landslide that occurred on Friday in a remote area of ​​the island state of Papua New Guinea – krone.at reports. The hope of finding someone still alive diminishes.

“The landslide has buried alive more than 2,000 people and caused widespread destruction,” the country’s civil protection agency wrote to the United Nations (UN) on Monday in a letter obtained by news agency AFP.

Searching for missing persons is a ‘race against time’
The hope of finding survivors is slim. “It has already been three days and seven hours since the disaster,” Serhan Aktoprak of the Port Moresby branch of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) told AFP on Monday. “So we are in a race against time, but the extent to which we can protect people is another question.”

The hope of finding anyone alive diminishes
The inaccessibility of the region and the masses of slipped earth quickly extinguished any hope of finding living people. The central province of Enga is characterized by tropical forests and a huge mountain range with rugged valleys, some of which are not served by roads and can only be reached by plane.

The rescuers worked under dangerous conditions. “Stones keep falling and moving the ground,” Aktoprak said. ‘To make matters worse, groundwater flows under the rubble, turning the ground surface into a slide.’ Heavy machinery and excavators were actually expected to arrive at the scene of the accident on Sunday evening. However, their transportation was delayed by fighting between rival tribes along the only route not blocked by the landslide.

Houses buried under meter-high rubble
The accident occurred on Friday in a remote area of ​​the Oceania island nation. The exact scale of the disaster is not yet completely clear. On Sunday, the UN reported that around 670 people were feared dead (see video above). “An estimated 150 houses have been buried,” the organization said. The houses were buried six to eight meters deep under the rubble.

Papua New Guinea is located north of Australia. Due to its proximity to the equator, the country regularly experiences heavy rainfall. The island state, which has about ten million inhabitants, is also located on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire. Earthquakes happen there all the time.

Source: Krone


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