6 bodies retrieved in Papua New Guinea as thousands feared buried

Wellington: Six bodies have been recovered from the masses of rock about 8 metre deep, four days after a massive landslide in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, said the UN on Tuesday.

The total affected population, including those in need of possible evacuation, is estimated at 7,849, with nearly 42 per cent of them under the age of 16, the UN office in Papua New Guinea said in a statement.

The number of bodies recovered “is expected to increase as retrieval efforts continue amid challenges due to unstable landslide conditions,” the statement added.

Papua New Guinea’s disaster agency has said more than 2,000 people are feared to be buried under the rubble.

Several villages in the province of Enga were hit when part of a mountain collapsed in the early hours of Friday in the remote central highlands of Papua New Guinea.

The government and emergency responders said that the survivors are in urgent need of clean water, food, clothing, shelter, medicine and psychological support.

Australia and New Zealand have pledged millions of dollars.

On Tuesday, New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said the government had approved an offer of practical and financial assistance, worth about NZ$1.5 million ($923,000), to help with the response.

“The landslide in Enga province in Papua New Guinea is an absolute tragedy. Our thoughts remain with all of those directly affected and the people and government of Papua New Guinea,” Peters wrote on social media platform X.

“The precise nature of our assistance will be shaped by the needs of affected communities, as determined through ongoing discussions with PNG (Papua New Guinea) authorities,” Peters added.

Overnight, Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said it would provide an initial A$2.5 million ($1.6 million) in humanitarian assistance.

The Australian Defence Force was working closely with its counterparts in Papua New Guinea, Marles added.

“This work is yet another demonstration of the close partnership between our nations and militaries.”


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