Papua New Guinea landslide death toll likely over 670 – UN body

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The UN’s International Organization for Migration fears that Friday’s massive landslide in Papua New Guinea, which buried an entire village, has claimed more than 670 lives. Local authorities initially estimated that the natural disaster had resulted in 100 fatalities or more.

Tragedy struck when a side of Mount Mungalo, located in a remote northern area of the South Pacific island nation, sheared off and completely covered Yambali village with a mix of rocks, mud and uprooted trees. According to a statement on Saturday by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs, more than six municipalities have been affected to some extent.

The disaster zone is located some 600 kilometers (373 miles) away from the capital, Port Moresby.

Speaking to Associated Press (AP) on Sunday, Serhan Aktoprak, the chief of the migration agency’s mission in Papua New Guinea, said that local authorities “are estimating that more than 670 people [are] under the soil at the moment.”

He explained that the initial figure had been based on the assumption that a total of 60 households had been affected, while in fact this number stands at more than 150.