Home South Africa Papua New Guinea Landslide Claims Lives of More Than 2,000 Individuals

Papua New Guinea Landslide Claims Lives of More Than 2,000 Individuals


The reported number starkly contradicts the U.N.’s estimate of 670 fatalities resulting from the disaster in the mountainous interior of the South Pacific island nation. To date, only the remains of six individuals have been recovered.

In a letter addressed to the United Nations resident coordinator and dated Sunday, Luseta Laso Mana, the acting director of Papua New Guinea’s National Disaster Center, detailed the landslide’s devastating impact on Yambali village in the Enga province, stating that it had “buried more than 2000 people alive” and caused “major destruction.”

Casualty estimates have varied, with the International Organization for Migration, actively involved in response efforts, maintaining its initial death toll estimate of 670, pending further verification. According to Mana, determining the precise scale of the disaster is challenging due to factors such as the village’s remote location, communication limitations, and tribal conflicts in the province, necessitating military escorts for relief operations.

The landslide has not only resulted in loss of life but has also blocked a crucial section of the province’s main highway under layers of debris, hindering relief efforts. Recognizing the dire situation, Mana underscored the ongoing instability of the terrain, posing risks to both rescue teams and survivors.

Efforts to address the catastrophe have commenced, with the deployment of heavy machinery donated by a local builder and the participation of Papua New Guinea’s defense minister. However, villagers remain divided over the utilization of such equipment, expressing concerns about potential damage to buried bodies.

As the situation evolves, Papua New Guinea’s government continues to assess the necessity for additional international assistance, acknowledging the long-term economic ramifications of the disaster on the entire country.