Huge landslide strikes remote village in Papua New Guinea, with 100 people feared dead

A close up of a mountain with broken rocks and trees.May 24 (ABC) - A huge landslide has struck a remote village in Papua New Guinea, with bodies being recovered by villagers.

The landslide reportedly hit Kaokalam Village in Enga Province, about 600 kilometres north-west of Port Moresby, about 3am.

Residents say current estimates of the death toll sit above 100, though authorities have not confirmed this figure.

Elizabeth Laruma, the president of the Porgera Women in Business Association, said houses were flattened when the side of a nearby mountain gave way.

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

Papua New Guinea police have not responded to the ABC's request for comment.

It's unclear whether emergency services have visited the remote area.

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

He estimates at least four of his relatives have been killed in the landslide.

A landslide has hit Kaokalam Village in Enga Province.

"I feel very sad. And I feel sad for the whole community," he told the ABC.

"They have lost their lives, their loved ones, their properties."

Videos shared on social media show residents scaling huge rocks and pulling bodies from rubble and beneath trees.

But it is difficult work, according to Mr Role.

"There are some huge stones and plants, trees. The buildings [have] collapsed," he said.

"These things are making it hard to find the bodies fast."

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

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

"When this road is being closed off – and I don't know how long it's going to take – it's going to have a really big impact on the people out there in terms of goods, fuel and services," she said.

"It's going to have a big impact on the lives of the people of Porgera and the mine as well."

She has called on the PNG government and non-governmental organisations to assist with immediate relief to the area.

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