More than 300 still buried under Papua New Guinea landslide

People cross over landslide area in Yambali village, Papua New Guinea (AP)
People cross over landslide area in Yambali village, Papua New Guinea (AP)

More than 300 people and 1,100 houses remain buried after a massive landslide levelled a remote village in northern Papua New Guinea.

The landslide struck around 3am local time on Friday and impacted six villages in the Mulitaka region, about 600km (370 miles) northwest of the capital Port Moresby.

An assessment team reported that around 100 people were killed, but only four bodies have been recovered thus far. Authorities worry the death toll could rise further.

“The scale is so big, I wouldn’t be surprised if there would be more casualties than the earlier reported 100,” said Serhan Aktoprak, head of the International Organisation for Migration in the South Pacific island nation.

“If 60 houses have been destroyed, then the number of casualties would definitely be much higher than the 100.”

Social media footage shows desperate scenes of villagers searching for survivors under the rubble, with the sound of weeping women in the background.

An emergency convoy was delivering food, water and other provisions to stunned survivors on Saturday.

All food gardens that sustain the village’s subsistence farming population were destroyed and the three streams that provide drinking water were buried by the landslide which also blocked the province’s main highway.

Prime minister James Marape announced that disaster officials, the Defence Force and the Department of Works and Highways are actively involved in the relief and recovery efforts.