“Highly Unlikely” To Find Any More Survivors In PNG’s Landslide: UN Official

“Highly Unlikely” To Find Any More Survivors In PNG’s Landslide: UN Official

SYDNEY, May 29 (NNN-AAP) – It is “highly unlikely” to find any more survivors from the massive landslide in Papua New Guinea (PNG)’s remote Enga Province, a UN official said, yesterday.

“At this stage, more than four days after the disaster, which took place on Friday, at 3.00 a.m. local time, it is highly unlikely to find any more survivors,” Mate Bagossy, humanitarian affairs specialist & humanitarian advisor of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in PNG, said.

A couple was found alive around 48 hours after the event, but no more survivors were found since then, he said.

“The search operation is at this stage focused more on body removal than on hopes of finding survivors,” Bagossy said.

The Papua New Guinea National Disaster Centre, confirmed that more than 2,000 people were buried alive, after the massive landslide occurred in Enga Province.

The area is relatively remote, the landslide has not fully subsided and the terrain is not sufficiently stable, to safely engage in the search operations, Bagossy said.

The PNG Defence Force is still leading search efforts, which are nevertheless conducted manually, with the hopes of retrieving more victims, the UN official said.

“Survivors are traumatised and have generally lost not only families but also food gardens and livestock,” Bagossy said. “Relief aid is however starting to be delivered, with some limited food and water already provided, and more significant aid expected to be delivered very soon, from today onwards, by a variety of partners, including United Nations agencies.”

Six bodies have been retrieved so far and the number is expected to increase as retrieval efforts continue, amid challenges due to unstable landslide conditions, according to a media release of the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office in PNG.

The total affected population, including those in need of possible evacuation and relocation, is estimated at 7,849 individuals (1,427 households), based on the 2022 common roll, it said.

Forty-two percent of this population are under 16 years, and a total of 150 structures are estimated to have been buried, it added.

– NNN-AAP

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