Papua New Guinea landslide: People in Enga’s high risk areas advised to relocate

New Zealand geotechnical experts in Papua New Guinea have advised for the immediate relocation of people marked in red zone areas in Enga Province because of the risk of another landslide.

A UN spokesperson said this includes Yambali and Koandak wards which have a combined population of over 7400.

“These areas are highly volatile, with cracks forming in the ground, necessitating immediate evacuation,” they said.

Many in the number suggested to be evacuated, were displaced from their homes in the destructive landslide almost two weeks ago and have built makeshift shelters nearby.

The team has also advised against people crossing debris-affected areas on foot, , the construction of a bypass road away from the landslip, the temporary reopening of the existing road for light vehicle traffic, the construction of a permanent road on the southern part behind the mountain, and the installation of monitoring equipment to continue observing the landslips.

Meanwhile, the 14-day window for search and recovery provided by the Enga Provincial Administrator will end on Friday.

It will mean the government will stop searching for bodies and the landslide site will be designated as a mass burial sit with monuments erected.

The updated number from the Papua New Guinea government of people buried is 670, down from more than 2000.

The provincial government will now discuss land-related issues with clan leaders to acquire land for the resettlement exercise.

The UN spokesperson says, “the relocation should consider evacuating the two different tribes to separate sites due to their status as warring tribes, which prevents them from being settled in one location”.

World Vision program operations director for PNG, Godfrey Bongomin, said “rainfall and erosion” had caused the slip.

The number of displaced people is 1650 and “the majority of displaced people are living with friends.”

Authorities have spoken with villagers to warn them against continuing their efforts to retrieve bodies.

“They are trying their best to retrieve bodies but it is not safe.”

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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