Officials say a landslide in Papua New Guinea has buried 2,000 people

Tribal feuds also increase safety risks after disasters.

Ruth Kissam, a community organizer in Enga province, said huge boulders fell from one tribe’s land onto residential towns occupied by another tribe.

“There will be tension,” she said. “There is already tension.”

Even before the disaster, the area had suffered tribal conflict causing people to flee surrounding villages, many eventually gathered in the community buried in the landslide. In September last year, much of Enga was placed under government lockdown and curfew, with no flights in or out.

Now, as the search for the dead and the living continues, anger and violence are growing.

Seran Aktoprak, head of mission at the International Organization for Migration office in Papua New Guinea, said that on Saturday morning, a quarrel broke out between the two clans, leaving many dead and dozens injured. house burned down. He added that the threat of violence makes delivering aid more difficult.

Papua New Guinea officials also emphasized the need to stay calm.

The letter from government officials who visited the site said: “Following an inspection conducted by the team, it was determined that the damage was extensive and immediate cooperative action was required from all play”.

The landslide occurred around 3 a.m. Friday, when many residents were fast asleep. Some of the rocks that buried homes and cut off major highways were larger than shipping containers. Even in a region prone to severe storms and earthquakes, the landslide drew expressions of deep grief from within the country and beyond – including from the White House.

“Jill and I are heartbroken by the loss of life and devastation caused by the landslide in Papua New Guinea,” President Biden said in a statement after the disaster. “Our prayers are with all the families affected by this tragedy and all the first responders who are putting themselves in harm’s way to help their fellow citizens.”

Christopher Cottrell contributed reporting.


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