Local officials fear fate of 300 missing people in remote PNG landslide

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The landslide devastation at Yambili village
The landslide devastation at Yambili village in Papua New Guinea's Enga province. Image: PNG Post-Courier

By Miriam Zarriga in Port Moresby

The United States has said it is “ready to lend a helping hand” to the people of Mulitaka, Enga province, after a devasting landslide swallowed an entire village in Papua New Guinea’s highlands yesterday.

US President Joe Biden and his wife said in a personal message their prayers were with the people of Enga who had been affected by the disaster at Yambili village.

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong has also advised her counterpart, Foreign Minister Justin Tkatchenko, that Australia is also ready to assist.

Relief officials say 300 people are missing and more than 1000 homes and a local lodge were buried under the rubble of mud, trees and rock.

Lagaip Open MP Aimos Akem called for immediate assistance from the national government, Enga provincial government, development partners and Barrack Niugini Ltd to help provide the necessary support for rescue operations after a deadly landslide struck Yambili village.

The village is near the Maip-Mulitaka LLG bordering the Lagaip and Pogera districts respectively.

A local leader and former MP for the then Lagaip-Porgera Open, Mark Ipuia, confirmed that Yambili village was covered by a huge pile of rocks that fell from the landslide.

It covered the Kapil clan, including all their homes and more than 5000 pigs, plus 100 trade stores and five vehicles.


ABC’s Pacific reporter Belinda Kora filed this report.        Video: ABC Pacific

ABC Pacific reporter Belinda Kora said rescue and recovery efforts had been hindered by the village’s remote location.

The PNG government has not yet released an official death toll.

Republished from the PNG Post-Courier with permission.

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