Papua New Guinea: More than 2,000 buried in huge landslide - King Charles sends condolences to community

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
King Charles and Queen Camilla have sent their condolences to the families of the victims impacted by the deadly landslide in Papua New Guinea.

The King said in a statement: “My wife and I were deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the devastating landslide in Enga, and the tragic loss of so many lives, home and food gardens. I have witnessed at first hand and have great admiration for the extraordinary resilience of the peoples of Papua New Guinea and the Highlands.

“I have faith that your community will come together to support the survivors and the recovery in these heartbreaking circumstances. My wife joins me in sending out most heartfelt condolences to the families and communities who have suffered so much as a result of this appallingly traumatic event. Papua New Guinea is very much in our special thoughts and prayers.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The government of Papua New Guinea has said that more than 2,000 people were buried in a destructive landslide, with officials appealing for international help. The government’s figure is three times higher than the United Nations estimate of 670 buried by the landslide which occurred on the Yambali village on Friday (May 24).

The figures were revealed in a letter from the acting director of the South Pacific island nation’s National Disaster Centre to the UN’s resident coordinator, with the letter detailing that the disaster “buried more than 2,000 people alive” and caused “major destruction”.

It is unknown how country officials came to a different figure from the UN’s estimate. Australia, Papua New Guinea’s nearest neighbour, had been preparing to send aircraft and other equipment to the site of the collapse, in the Enga province, to help with the rescue but poor weather in the region left the site unstable.

Australian defence minister Richard Marles said that the two countries had been in constant contact since the landslide occurred. He told ABC: “The exact nature of the support that we do provide will play out over the coming days. We’ve got obviously airlift capacity to get people there. There may be other equipment that we can bring to bear in terms of the search and rescue and all of that we are talking through with PNG right now.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Heavy rain had continued to fall in the provincial capital of Wabag, which is only 35 miles from the Yambali village. Communications in and out of the village also remain under pressure and limited.

According to emergency responders, there is currently a huge unstable mass of debris lying six to eight metres deep over an area the size of three to four American football fields. Responders have major concerns that the continuing poor weather may make the debris dangerously unstable.

Serhan Aktoprak, the chief of the International Organisation for Migration’s mission in Papua New Guinea, said that water was seeping between the debris and the earth below, posing risk of a further landslide. He added: “What really worries me personally very much is the weather, weather, weather. Because the land is still sliding. Rocks are falling.” 

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.