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Papua New Guinea landslide: survivors appeal for aid

Villagers react as they search through a landslide in Yambali village, in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. 27.05.2024.   -  
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Juho Valta/UNDP Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea

Residents from a village in Papua New Guinea that has been left devastated by a landslide last Friday have appealed for aid. The United Nations has estimated that 670 villagers were killed in the disaster and over 1,000 displaced.

A mass of boulders, earth and splintered trees devastated Yambali in the South Pacific nation’s remote highlands when a limestone mountainside sheared away on Friday.

"When our enemies attack us, there are warnings and alerts before the attack," said Frida Yeahkal, a local affected by the disaster.

"This natural disaster took us by surprise and shocked everyone. It destroyed everything we had."

Yeahkal outlined her and other locals fear that the area was still not stable and called on the government to help relocate residents to safer areas.

"Gardens and houses have all been destroyed, so we need food to eat and houses to sleep," said Yuri Yapara, a community leader. "Even the good places to build houses have been destroyed and we urgently need help and if there is none coming or help is delayed, the lives of the ones living are in danger."

Authorities in Papua New Guinea were searching on Wednesday for safer ground to relocate the thousands of survivors at risk from a potential second landslide.

Emergency responders said that up to 8,000 people might need to be evacuated from the area.

The United Nations estimated 670 villagers died in the disaster that immediately displaced 1,650 survivors.

Papua New Guinea’s government has told the United Nations it thinks more than 2,000 people were buried.

Aid from Australia to help those in need has arrived in the country and was seen being placed into trucks on Wednesday.

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