NEW DELHI: A landslide in northern Papua New Guinea has buried more than 300 people and over 1,100 houses, local media reported on Saturday. The disaster struck Kaokalam village in Enga Province at around 3 am on Friday, approximately 600 km northwest of the capital, Port Moresby.
The Papua New Guinea Post Courier cited Member of Parliament Aimos Akem, who reported that 1,182 houses were buried in the landslide.
Australia’s department of foreign affairs and trade (DFAT) confirmed that more than six villages in the province’s Mulitaka region were affected. A DFAT spokesperson said that Australia’s high commission in Port Moresby is in close contact with PNG authorities to assess the damage and casualties.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported on Saturday that four bodies had been retrieved after emergency teams reached the area with the death toll is expected to rise. The landslide has blocked highway access, leaving helicopters as the only means to reach the affected area.
Social media footage posted by villager Ninga Role showed residents searching for survivors amid rocks, uprooted trees, and dirt. Women could be heard weeping in the background.
The landslide has obstructed a crucial road leading to Porgera, a town known for its significant gold mining operations.
Prime Minister James Marape announced that disaster officials, the defence force, and the department of works and highways are assisting with relief and recovery efforts.
(With agency inputs)

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