Thousands on standby for evacuation amid fear of another PNG landslide

Close to 8000 people have been told to be on standby for evacuation from a landslide-prone area of Papua New Guinea.

Enga provincial disaster committee chairperson and provincial administrator Sandis Tsaka told RNZ Pacific some were already being evacuated, but that number was not clear.

As many people as possible – including those working in the recovery – were hoped to be evacuated by tomorrow, he said.

He had visited the disaster site twice and it was “very” dangerous.

Recovery efforts continue in Yambali village in Enga province, where more than 2000 bodies are believed buried to be buried after a major landslide on Friday.

Rescue attempts have been hindered by the unstable terrain and lack of heavy machinery.

Aid groups say helicopters carrying machinery and more supplies are expected on Tuesday.

Access remains limited to the disaster site with the highway still blocked by fallen boulders.

The landslip is still moving and terrain around the area is unstable, resulting in 250 households being evacuated.

The remote area deep in the highlands had a youthful population of about 4000 people, according to 2022 census data (excluding families and children displaced by recent tribal violence).

Aid arriving for PNG landslide survivors

Meanwhile, humanitarian aid is starting to trickle in for survivors of Friday’s landslide.

New Zealand has pledged practical and financial assistance worth $1.5 million.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters said the precise nature of the assistance would be decided after discussions with the authorities in PNG.

World Vision PNG representative Chris Jensen said humanitarian aid groups would be travelling to the disaster site from Tuesday.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is providing special support for women and children, including nine orphans who would be adopted by nearby community members and living relatives in other provinces.

“We think 1550 children were buried while sleeping,” UNICEF PNG representative Angela Kearney said.

So far, medical kits for 1000 people for three months has been provided plus sanitary products and food.

More to come…

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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