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UN migration agency estimates more than 670 people killed in Papua New Guinea landslide

The landslide reportedly hit Kaokalam village in Enga province, about 370 miles northwest of the capital, Port Moresby, at roughly 3 a.m., Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

UN migration agency estimates more than 670 people killed in Papua New Guinea landslide gcw
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First Published May 26, 2024, 2:03 PM IST

The International Organization for Migration on Sunday increased its estimate of the death toll from a massive landslide in Papua New Guinea to more than 670. The updated death toll, according to Serhan Aktoprak, the head of the United Nations Migration Agency's mission in the island country in the South Pacific, was based on estimates from Yambali village and Enga province officials that more than 150 dwellings had been submerged by Friday's landslip. Sixty dwellings had been the projection from before.

Aktoprak told The Associated Press, "They are estimating that more than 670 people (are) under the soil at the moment." 

Emergency responders in Papua New Guinea were moving survivors to safer ground on Sunday as tons of unstable earth and tribal warfare, which is rife in the country’s Highlands, threatened the rescue effort.

Prime Minister James Marape assured that authorities were actively engaged in responding to the disaster, and he pledged to provide updates on the extent of the destruction and loss of life as soon as information became accessible.

“I am yet to be fully briefed on the situation. However, I extend my heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the landslide disaster in the early hours of this morning,” Marape said in a statement on Friday.

Australia, as a close neighbor and the most significant provider of foreign aid to Papua New Guinea, expressed readiness to extend assistance in the aftermath of the landslide. Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong conveyed heartfelt sympathies to the people of PNG via social media, acknowledging the profound devastation caused by the tragedy. She affirmed Australia's commitment as a friend and partner to support relief and recovery efforts.

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