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Devastating Landslide in Papua New Guinea Leaves More Than 670 Dead

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The International Organization for Migration has raised its estimate of the death toll from a catastrophic landslide in Papua New Guinea (PNG) to over 670, making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in the country’s recent history. The landslide in the Enga province buried more than 150 homes, significantly surpassing the initial estimate of 60 homes. According to Serhan Aktoprak, the chief of the United Nations agency’s mission in PNG, the situation remains dire, with ongoing land movement and flowing water posing significant risks to everyone involved.

The rescue and relief efforts have been further complicated by the challenging terrain and tribal conflicts in the highlands of PNG. The unstable ground has made it difficult for rescuers to access the affected area, and damage to infrastructure, including a blocked highway, has hampered relief operations. The catastrophic landslide, comprising car-sized boulders, uprooted trees, and churned-up earth, has devastated the village, wiping out its livestock, food gardens, and sources of clean water.

As emergency responders continue to grapple with the aftermath of the disaster, the government is working to establish evacuation centres on the safer ground on both sides of the massive debris field. Additionally, authorities are considering seeking more international assistance to address the scale of the crisis. The United States and Australia have already indicated their readiness to provide additional support to the relief efforts.

The people of Papua New Guinea are facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, and concerted international aid and support will be crucial in addressing the immediate needs of the affected communities and facilitating long-term recovery and reconstruction efforts.

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