WORLD NEWS

More than 100 feared dead in remote region of Papua New Guinea hit by deadly landslide

May 24, 2024, 2:14 PM

People gather at the site of a landslide in Maip Mulitaka in Papua New Guinea's Enga Province on Fr...

People gather at the site of a landslide in Maip Mulitaka in Papua New Guinea's Enga Province on Friday, May 24. (AFP/Getty Images via CNN Newsource)

(AFP/Getty Images via CNN Newsource)

(CNN) — More than 100 people are feared dead in a remote village in the Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea after a landslide flattened homes and buried people alive while they were sleeping, officials said Friday.

The disaster hit the village of Kaokalam in Enga Province, about 600 kilometers (372 miles) northwest of the capital, Port Moresby, at about 3 a.m. local time (1 p.m. ET, Thursday).

The remoteness of the affected village, home to nearly 4,000 people, is hindering rescue efforts, according to the Chief of Mission for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the country.

“The debris is as big as approximately three to four football fields, and is blocking the lifeline of the province’s main highway, which is making the relief efforts all the more difficult,” Serhan Aktoprak told CNN.

“It’s already dark. It’s already night time in Papua New Guinea. There’s no power to continue the relief efforts. Only with sunrise will the [IOM] teams be returning,” Aktoprak said.

He added that three bodies had so far been recovered, but the death toll is likely to increase because of the size of the landslide.

The number of people killed or missing is “very fluid,” but more than 100 are believed to be dead, Janet Philemon, Caretaker and National Treasurer of the Papua New Guinea Red Crescent Society (PNGRCS), told CNN.

The local community has been scrambling to reach survivors “with whatever tools they have at their disposal,” Philemon said.

“The community themselves are responding, trying to bring out and uncover those that have been buried under the landslide,” she added.

She said that an earthquake had hit the area a few days prior, which she believed could have contributed to the cause of the landslide.

Footage of the aftermath carried by AFP showed a wide scar of mud and rocks on a steep mountainside slope and locals clambering to look for survivors.

Prime Minister James Marape said in an earlier statement, reported by the ABC and Reuters, that his government had sent officials from the country’s disaster agency, defence force, and Department of Works and Highways to meet Enga’s provincial and district authorities, and carry out the rescue and relief efforts, as well as the reconstruction of infrastructure.

“I extend my heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the landslide disaster,” he said,

In comments reported by the ABC, officials said houses were flattened when the side of a nearby mountain gave way.

CNN has reached out to local authorities, including Ipatas, as well as the national police and the country’s disaster management agency.

A Pacific nation home to around 10 million people, Papua New Guinea is rich in resources, but its economy has long trailed those of its neighbors, and it has one of the highest crime rates in the world.

Violence remains widespread. Chaos erupted in the capital earlier this year after police walked off the job in protest over a drop in their pay, which government officials later blamed on a computer glitch in the payroll system. Shops were looted and buildings set on fire during the disturbance.

Hundreds of tribes are spread across the country’s remote and often inaccessible terrain. But its vast and diverse mountainous landscape, as well as a lack of roads, has made it difficult and costly to upgrade basic services like water, electricity and sanitation.


The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

World News

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant arrives at the US Department of State ahead of a meeting with...

Kevin Liptak, Oren Liebermann, Jennifer Hansler and Kylie Atwood, CNN

US hopes Israeli defense minister can give clarity on Gaza war plans as rift with Netanyahu widens

American officials are hoping to gain a better understanding of Israel’s war plans in meetings this week with the country’s defense minister, who arrived in Washington as the rift widened between the Biden administration and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

17 hours ago

The aftermath of an attack in Makhachkala, Republic of Dagestan, Russia is seen in a video screengr...

Darya Tarasova, Jen Deaton, Mariya Knight, Andrew Raine and Josh Pennington, CNN

Gunmen kill police, priest and civilians in attacks on places of worship in Russia’s Dagestan

More than 15 police officers and several civilians, including an Orthodox priest, were killed by armed militants in Russia’s southern republic of Dagestan on Sunday.

19 hours ago

A small town in France dedicated a memorial to a crew of a B-17 Bomber killed during World War II. ...

Alex Cabrero

Memorial dedication in France for Utah man killed during WWII

On Saturday, a small town in France dedicated a memorial to a crew of a B-17 Bomber killed during World War II. The plane was shut down 80 years ago to the day near the town. One of the soldiers honored was Utah resident 2nd Lt. John "Jack" Lundberg.

3 days ago

Palestinians search for casualties at the site of Israeli strikes on houses in Gaza City on June 22...

Eyad Kourdi and Ibrahim Dahman, CNN

More than 50 people killed or missing in Israeli strikes on central Gaza, local officials say

52 people have been killed or left missing in Israeli strikes near Gaza city on Saturday, according to the Hamas-controlled Government Media Office (GMO).

3 days ago

Country officials said dozens of Hajj pilgrims have died as Mecca temperatures hit 120F, and seen h...

Lauren Kent, Caroline Faraj and Hande Atay Alam, CNN

Hundreds of Hajj pilgrims die as Mecca temperatures hit 120 Fahrenheit

More than 300 people have died and thousands have been treated for heatstroke while performing the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca amid extreme temperatures.

5 days ago

In this handout photo, Just Stop Oil protesters sit after spraying an orange substance on Stoneheng...

Brian Melley

Climate protesters arrested over spraying orange paint on Stonehenge monument

Two climate protesters who sprayed orange paint on the ancient Stonehenge monument in southern England were arrested Wednesday.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

More than 100 feared dead in remote region of Papua New Guinea hit by deadly landslide