More than 2,000 people buried in Papua New Guinea landslide

More than 2,000 people were buried by a massive landslide in Papua New Guinea, the national disaster centre said on Monday, as the government officially asked for international help to reach communities trapped in remote villages where rescue efforts have been hampered by treacherous conditions.

The numbers of those buried around Yambali village in Enga province in the country's north are based on estimates from local authorities which have been rising steadily since Friday's landslide.

A UN agency put the estimated death toll at more than 670 people on Sunday.

The National Disaster Centre raised the toll again to 2,000 in a letter to the UN on Sunday that was released publicly on Monday. The landslide also caused major destruction to buildings and food gardens, it said.

"The situation remains unstable as the landslip continues to shift slowly, posing ongoing danger to both the rescue teams and survivors alike," according to the letter.

About 4,000 people were living near the affected area, CARE International Papua New Guinea (PNG) country director Justine McMahon told ABC television on Monday.

But it is difficult to get an accurate estimate of the local population as PNG's last credible census was in 2000 and many people live in remote mountainous villages. The country recently announced a census would be conducted in 2024.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

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