The UN believes more than 670 people have been killed in a landslide

Empirency convoy reaches survivors of a massive landslide in Papua-New Guinea, with aid from the United Nations

An emergency convoy was delivering food, water and other provisions Saturday to stunned survivors of a landslide that devastated a remote village in the mountains of Papua New Guinea and was feared to have buried scores of people, officials said.

An assessment team reported “suggestions” that 100 people were dead and 60 houses buried by the mountainside that collapsed in Enga province a few hours before dawn Friday, said Serhan Aktoprak, the chief of the International Organization for Migration’s mission in the South Pacific island nation.

“The scale is so big, I wouldn’t be surprised if there would be more casualties than the earlier reported 100,” Aktoprak said. If 60 houses had been destroyed, the death toll would be higher than 100.

Only three bodies had been recovered by early Saturday from the vast swath of earth, boulders and splintered trees that struck Yambali, a village of nearly 4,000 people that is 600 kilometers (370 miles) northwest of the capital, Port Moresby.

The Prime Minister said he would let the world know about the scale of the destruction when it becomes available.

All food gardens that sustain the village’s subsistence farming population were destroyed and the three streams that provide drinking water were buried by the landslide, which also blocked the province’s main highway.

“People — they cannot cry or they cannot do anything, because it’s difficult for them,” Ruing said in a video shown by Australian Broadcasting Corp. “Because such a situation has never happened in history. We are looking for assistance from the national government, people on the ground, business houses, heights from everywhere, and so forth.

Aktoprak said that besides food and water, the villagers had an urgent need for shelters and blankets. He said that the relief would be for the vulnerable, including women, children, and older people.

Source: Emergency convoy reaches survivors of a massive landslide in Papua New Guinea

The Australian Embassy in Papua-New Guinea mourns the death of a man killed in a massive landslide on Sunday

The relief effort was delayed by the landslide closing the province’s main highway, which serves the Porgera Gold Mine and the neighboring town of Porgera.

The United States and Australia are building closer defense ties with the strategically important nation, where China is seeking closer security and economic ties.

Biden, who was to become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Papua New Guinea a year ago but canceled the trip to focus on a debt crisis in Congress, said he was heartbroken by the loss of life and devastation.

“Our prayers are with all the families impacted by this tragedy and all the first responders who are putting themselves in harm’s way to help their fellow citizens,” Biden said in a statement.

All Australians grieve for their brothers and sisters in Asia after the terrible landslide that happened there.

Billy Joseph, the Defense Minister of the Philippines, and Laso Mana, the Director of the National Disaster Center flew from Port Moresby in a helicopter on Sunday to see for themselves what is needed.

McMahon said it would be difficult, but there would be some support. “The scale of this disaster is quite immense.”

McMahon said there were other health facilities in the region, the provincial government was sending health workers and the World Health Organization was mobilizing staff.

The numbers of injured and missing were still being assessed on Sunday. Seven people including a child had received medical treatment by Saturday, but officials had no details on their conditions.

The International Organization for Migration on Sunday increased their estimate of the death toll from the massive earthquake and collapse in PNG to over 700.

Serhan Aktoprak, the chief of the U.N. migration agency’s mission in the South Pacific island nation, said the revised death toll was based on calculations by Yambali village and Enga provincial officials that more than 150 homes had been buried by Friday’s landslide. The previous figure was 60 homes.

Tambitanis: a village devastated by the Saturday morning landslide that killed eight locals in Papua New Guinea

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.

The main highway through the province has been cut off by the massive swath of debris that covers an area the size of three to four football fields.

Since the roadblock on the highway was closed on Saturday, convoys have transported food, water and other essentials from the provincial capital, Wabag, to the ravaged village of Tambitanis, which is about halfway along the route. Papua New Guinea soldiers were providing security for the convoys.

Eight locals were killed in a clash between two rival clans on Saturday in a longstanding dispute unrelated to the landslide. The local officials said some homes and businesses were destroyed during the fighting.

Aktoprak said he did not expect tribal combatants would target the convoys but noted that opportunistic criminals might take advantage of the mayhem to do so.

“This could basically end up in carjacking or robbery,” Aktoprak said. There is more to it than the security of the personnel, and also the goods because they may use this chaos as a way to steal.

Longtime tribal warfare has cast doubt on the official estimate that almost 4,000 people were living in the village when a side of Mount Mungalo fell away.

Source: UN estimates more than 670 killed in Papua New Guinea landslide

United States and Australia are giving more to help the needy insurgents in Papua New Guinea, as explained by McMahon

Justine McMahon, country director of the humanitarian agency CARE International, said moving survivors to “more stable ground” was an immediate priority along with providing them with food, water and shelter. The military was in charge of that.

The United States and Australia, a near neighbor and Papua New Guinea’s most generous provider of foreign aid, are among governments that have publicly stated their readiness to do more to help responders.

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