More PNG aid on standby as landslide death toll rises

Australia has sent a specialist disaster team and supplies to PNG to help after a deadly landslide.

Australia has sent a specialist disaster team and supplies to PNG to help after a deadly landslide. Photo: International Organisation for Migration via Ap

Australia remains on standby to send further aid to Papua New Guinea following a catastrophic landslide as the death toll continues to rise.

PNG’s National Disaster Centre said more than 2000 people had been buried alive by Friday’s landslide in remote Enga province.

Australia will send technical experts and $2.5 million in initial aid to Papua New Guinea as the death toll continues to rise following a catastrophic landslide that destroyed a village.

Under the Australian aid package experts will provide incident management assistance, support geo-hazard assessments and help early recovery efforts, with the Australian Defence Force also assisting.

“As a close neighbour and friend, we will be doing all we can to provide support,” Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said in a statement on Monday.

Treacherous terrain in the region and a difficulty in getting in aid has hampered rescue efforts, raising fears few survivors will be found.

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said Australia had been in contact with PNG authorities since the landslide about offering support.

“We’ll continue to work very closely with the Papua New Guinean government about how best we can provide assistance over the coming days,” he told reporters in Melbourne on Monday.

“We have actually provided assistance in getting officials from their disaster response centre to the place of the incident over the course of the weekend.”

The head of the International Organisation for Migration in PNG Serhan Aktoprak said the conditions on the ground were hampering rescue and aid efforts.

Rocks were still falling from the mountain, soil was cracking and water was flowing under the debris.

“We’re just hoping that in the remaining short window of time that we have, we can at least contribute to the relief efforts in saving some more lives,” Aktoprak said.

“But unfortunately, (time) is not on our side.”

Marles earlier said Australia’s close ties with PNG meant it would be on hand to deliver support where it was needed.

“Obviously, we are able to bring to bear the kinds of support that we would in respect of any natural disaster which occurs within our own country,” he said.

“PNG is a close neighbour, is a country with whom we have the closest of relationships, and we have offered whatever support we can provide in terms of dealing with this disaster.

“We’ll continue to work with the Papua New Guinean officials as to how best that can be done.”

A spokesperson for United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “deeply saddened” by the reported loss of hundreds of lives.

“He extends his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and expresses his solidarity with the people and government of Papua New Guinea,” the spokesperson said.

“The United Nations and its partners are supporting the government’s response efforts.

“The Secretary-General underscores that the United Nations stands ready to offer additional assistance at this challenging time.”


Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter.
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.