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Hundreds feared buried after landslide hits Papua New Guinea

Hundreds are feared dead after a massive landslide levelled dozens of homes in a remote village in northern Papua New Guinea early Friday, according to local residents and media.

Survivors searching through tonnes of rubble by hand as first convoy of aid arrives

An injured person is carried on a stretcher while villagers watch.

Hundreds are feared dead after a massive landslide levelled dozens of homes in a remote village in northern Papua New Guinea early Friday, according to local residents and media.

Men were digging through tonnes of soil by hand on Saturday looking for missing relatives after boulders and earth fell from a mountainside in Yambali, a village of nearly 4,000 people in Enga province, 600 kilometres northwest of the capital, Port Moresby.

Local media reported on Saturday that more than 300 people and over 1,100 houses were buried by the massive landslide.

An assessment team, on the other hand, reported "suggestions" that 100 people were dead and 60 houses buried by the mountainside that collapsed a few hours before dawn on Friday, said Serhan Aktoprak, the chief of the International Organization for Migration's mission in the South Pacific island nation.

People walk on muddy rocky land after a landslide.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp reported on Saturday that four bodies had been retrieved after emergency teams reached the sparsely populated area.

Emergency convoy delivers provisions

While survivors searched through the rubble, a first emergency convoy delivered food, water and other provisions to the site on Saturday morning.

The relief effort was delayed by the landslide closing the province's main highway, which serves the Porgera Gold Mine and the neighbouring town of Porgera.

A house damaged in a landslide.

Further convoys are planned for Sunday, including the arrival of heavy earth-moving machinery to help clear the six to eight metres of debris that fell from the Mungalo mountain that sits above Yambali.

Confirming a firm number of those who have died will be difficult "given it is considered culturally taboo to ask survivors of the status of their relatives," said Aktoprak.

"It is feared that the number of casualties and wounded will increase dramatically," he said.

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Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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