Hell in Papua New Guinea, the mountain collapses: over two thousand dead. 6 villages swallowed up


By John

In Papua New Guinea, a mountain towered above the village of Kaokalam in the remote Enga province. Now an immense pile of debris remains of Mount Mungalo. Around 3 o'clock on Friday night, an entire slope suddenly broke off, overwhelming houses and inhabitants. “The landslide buried more than 2,000 people alive and caused severe destruction,” the country's national disaster center said at the UN office in Port Moresby.

Three days after the disaster, only 6 bodies have been found so far, but it is estimated that the landslide has swallowed up around 150 houses in 6 villages, inhabited by at least 4,000 people. It is difficult to establish a reliable balance sheet: the disaster occurred in an area that is difficult to reach, about 600 kilometers from the capital. The province's main highway, the only access to the area, is still covered in debris. Recently, there has been a massive influx of people in the area fleeing tribal conflicts in nearby areas.

“The situation remains unstable because the landslide continues to move slowly, posing a danger to rescue teams and survivors,” reads the authorities' statement. Tonight's rains have raised fears that the piles of rubble could become even more unstable, but residents continue to search for any survivors, despite having no equipment. Not in vain attempts.

Today a team of volunteer rescuers heard screams coming from a pile of debris, from which husband and wife, Johnson and Jacklyn Yandam were extracted. They described their rescue “as a miracle” to NBC News. Justine McMahon, country director of the humanitarian agency Care International, told CNN that “authorities are working around the clock, but the scale of this disaster requires resources from the international community.”

The United Nations has invited member countries to an online meeting tomorrow morning to plan an initial aid program. President Xi Jinping has offered China's help, as has his American counterpart Joe Biden and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

The World Health Organization also said it was ready “to help the government meet urgent health needs”. While in a message sent by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, Pope Francis assured “his spiritual closeness” to all those who have been affected by this disaster. According to some local media, the landslide was caused by the heavy rains of recent weeks Even behind this disaster there seems to be the specter of climate change: the increase in precipitation linked to this increases the risk of landslides.