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Huge landslide hits remote village in Papua New Guinea, leaving 100 people feared dead

A massive landslide hit a remote village in Papua New Guinea, and villagers recovered the bodies.

The landslide reportedly hit the village of Kaokalam in Enga province, about 600 kilometers northwest of Port Moresby, at around 3am.

The Enga provincial administration says it has assembled an emergency response team to conduct a rapid assessment of the impact of the damage.

He called on local health centers and NGOs to be prepared to assist in recovery and relief efforts.

Residents say current estimates of the death toll exceed 100, although the government has not released an official death toll from the landslide.

Elizabeth Laruma, president of the Porgera Business Women’s Association, said houses were swept away when the side of a nearby mountain gave way.

“It happened when people were still sleeping in the early hours of the morning and the whole town went under,” Mrs Laruma said.

“From what I can guess, this is more than 100 people buried underground.”

A closeup of a mountain with broken rocks and trees.

Locals say a landslide hit Kaokalam village in Enga province.(Facebook: Kindupan Kambii)

Papua New Guinea police did not respond to ABC’s request for comment.

Ninga Role, who is from Kaokalam but attends university in Madang, said he received news of the damage this morning.

He estimates that at least four of his relatives have died in the landslide.

“I feel very sad. And I feel sad for the whole community,” she told ABC.

“They have lost their lives, their loved ones, their property.”

Residents say bodies are difficult to locate

Videos shared on social media show residents scaling huge boulders and pulling bodies out of rubble and under trees.

But it’s a difficult job, according to Role.

“There are some huge stones, plants and trees. The buildings have collapsed,” he said.

“These things make it difficult to find the bodies quickly.”

A group of people walk on rocks beneath a partially collapsed cliff.

Residents say searching for bodies in the rubble has been difficult.(Facebook: Kindupan Kambii)

The landslide has also blocked an access road to the town of Porgera, where a large gold mine is located.

Laruma said people in the area were concerned about access to goods and services.

“When this highway closes, and I don’t know how long it will take, it will have a really big impact on people in terms of goods, fuel and services,” he said.

“It’s going to have a big impact on the lives of the people of Porgera and also on the mine.”

He has called on the PNG government and non-governmental organizations to assist with immediate relief in the area.

Aware , updated

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