Papua New Guinea leader Marape says extraordinary weather causing disasters

Published: Updated:
Read Mode
100% Font Size
2 min read

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape on Wednesday blamed “extraordinary rainfall” and changes to weather patterns for multiple disasters in the Pacific Island nation this year, including a landslide last week which may have killed thousands.

Parts of a mountain in the Maip-Mulitaka area in Enga province in PNG’s north collapsed in the early hours of last Friday and Marape said more than 2,000 people are estimated to have died, with up to 70,000 people living in the area impacted by the disaster.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

“Our people in that village went to sleep for the last time, not knowing they would breathe their last breath as they were sleeping peacefully. Nature threw a disastrous landslip, submerged or covered the village,” Marape told parliament on Wednesday.

Natural disasters have cost the country more than 500 million kina ($126 million) this year, before the landslide at Enga, he said.

“This year, we had extraordinary rainfall that has caused flooding in river areas, sea level rise in coastal areas and landslips in a few areas,” Marape said.

Defence Minister Billy Joseph was travelling to the scene of the landslip on Wednesday with relief supplies provided by Australia, the government said. Military personnel from Australia and New Zealand would help with the relief and reconstruction.

PNG on Wednesday ramped up rescue efforts, while authorities raised concerns about the outbreak of diseases amid warnings of further landslides. Thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate amid further earth slips in the mountain.

Residents have been using shovels and bare hands to dig through mud and debris almost two storeys high even as officials said chances of finding survivors were slim.

Read more:

UN agency says ‘very unlikely’ there are survivors from Papua New Guinea landslide

Papua New Guinea reports more than 2000 people buried in landslide

More than 670 feared dead in Papua New Guinea landslide, UN agency says

Top Content Trending