More Than 100 People Reportedly Killed in Papua New Guinea Landslide

More Than 100 People Reportedly Killed in Papua New Guinea Landslide

MELBOURNE, Australia — More than 100 people are believed to have been killed Friday in a landslide that buried a village in a remote part of Papua New Guinea, Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

The landslide reportedly hit Kaokalam village in Enga province, about 600 kilometers (370 miles) northwest of the South Pacific island nation’s capital of Port Moresby, at roughly 3 a.m. local time (15:00 GMT), ABC reported.

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Residents say current estimates of the death toll are above 100, although authorities have not confirmed this figure. Villagers said the number of people killed could be much higher.

Videos on social media show locals pulling out bodies buried under rocks and trees.

The Papua New Guinea government and police did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Elizabeth Laruma, who runs a women’s business association in Porgera, a town in the same province near the Porgera Gold Mine, said village houses were flattened when the side of a mountain gave way.

“It has occurred when people were still asleep in the early hours, and the entire village has gone down,” Laruma told ABC. “From what I can presume, it’s about 100-plus people who are buried beneath the ground.”

The landslide blocked the road between Porgera and the village, she said, raising concerns about the town’s own supply of fuel and goods.

Village resident Ninga Role, who was away when the landslide struck, expects at least four of his relatives have died.

“There are some huge stones and plants, trees. The buildings collapsed,” Role said. “These things are making it hard to find the bodies fast.”

Papua New Guinea is a diverse, developing nation of mostly subsistence farmers with 800 languages. There are few roads outside the larger cites.

With 10 million people, it is also the most populous South Pacific nation after Australia, which is home to some 27 million.

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