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'Deeply saddened': EAM S Jaishankar expresses condolences as 2,000 killed in Papua New Guinea landslide

Initially, the United Nations reported that up to 100 people might have died. This estimate was later increased to 670 by the Chief of Mission for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in the country. However, the latest figures from Papua New Guinea's disaster agency suggest the toll could be significantly higher.

Deeply saddened': EAM S Jaishankar expresses condolences as 2000 killed in Papua New Guinea landslide AJR
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First Published May 27, 2024, 7:12 PM IST

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday (May 27) expressed his sorrow over the tragic landslide in Papua New Guinea, which has left around 2,000 people feared buried. In a post on X, Jaishankar wrote, "Deeply saddened by the loss of lives in Papua New Guinea following the recent landslide. Our thoughts are with the Government and the people. India stands in solidarity with our friends at this difficult time."

Rescue efforts have been ongoing, but the challenging terrain and continuing instability of the landslide have made it difficult to locate survivors.

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The disaster struck the mountainous Enga region in northern Papua New Guinea early on Friday morning, dramatically increasing casualty estimates.

Initially, the United Nations reported that up to 100 people might have died. This estimate was later increased to 670 by the Chief of Mission for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in the country. However, the latest figures from Papua New Guinea's disaster agency suggest the toll could be significantly higher.

"The landslide buried more than 2,000 people alive, caused major destruction to buildings, food gardens, and severely impacted the country's economic lifeline," Lusete Laso Mana, Acting Director of the National Disaster Centre, wrote in a letter to the UN. He added that the situation remains unstable as the landslip continues to shift, posing ongoing danger to both rescue teams and survivors.

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The landslide has completely blocked the main highway to the affected area, further complicating rescue efforts. The remote village of Kaokalam, approximately 600 kilometers northwest of the capital Port Moresby, was hit at around 3 am local time, leaving a trail of debris the size of four football pitches.

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