‘India ready to offer all possible support’: PM Modi on ‘devastating landslide’ in Papua New Guinea

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed condolences for lives lost in devastating landslide in Papua New Guinea, offering support and assistance.

Livemint
First Published28 May 2024
Papua New Guinea landslide: In this photo released by UNDP Papua New Guinea, villagers search through a landslide in Yambali village, in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, Monday, May 27, 2024. (Image: UNDP Papua New Guinea via AP)
Papua New Guinea landslide: In this photo released by UNDP Papua New Guinea, villagers search through a landslide in Yambali village, in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, Monday, May 27, 2024. (Image: UNDP Papua New Guinea via AP)(AP)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday expressed his condolences for the lives lost in the “devastating landslide” in Papua New Guinea and said India is ready to offer all possible support and assistance.

In a post on X, PM wrote, “Deeply saddened by the loss of lives and damage caused by the devastating landslide in Papua New Guinea. Our heartfelt condolences to the affected families and prayers for speedy recovery of the injured. India is ready to offer all possible support and assistance.”

According to the Papua New Guinea government, more than 2,000 people are believed to have been buried alive in a landslide in the South Pacific island nation, after the side of a mountain came down in the early hours of Friday morning when the village of Yambali was asleep.

The settlement is located in a restive and remote area in the interior of the poor, rural nation off the northern coast of Australia, making search and rescue efforts complicated and hazardous.

"The landslide area is very unstable. When we're up there, we're regularly hearing big explosions where the mountain is, there is still rocks and debris coming down," Enga province disaster committee chairperson Sandis Tsaka told Reuters.

“The landslide is still active, as people are digging through the rocks, more is still coming down.”

Also Read: Papua New Guinea government says Friday's landslide buried 2,000 people and formally asks for help

“A state of emergency has been declared across the disaster zone and a neighbouring area, with a combined population of between 4,500 to 8,000, although not all have been ordered to evacuate yet,” Tsaka said.

Military personnel have set up checkpoints and are helping move residents to evacuation centres, he said.

Heavy equipment and aid has been slow to arrive because of the remote location, treacherous terrain and tribal unrest in the area forcing the military to escort the convoys of relief teams.

The fluctuation in the estimated death toll underscores the challenge of obtaining an accurate population count. As a mountainous nation, Papua New Guineafaces obstacles in conducting comprehensive censuses. The most recent credible census dates back to 2000, and the 2022 voter roll excludes individuals under 18 years old, further complicating population estimates.

(With inputs from PTI)

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