Hundreds dead and missing after Papua New Guinea landslide buries more than 2,000

Hundreds of people are dead and unaccounted for after a massive landslide in Papua New Guinea buried more than 2,000 people.

The landslide occurred on Friday, but government officials visited the site of the disaster on Sunday and said that the death toll was estimated to be 670, a number that is expected to grow as rescue teams claw through the rubble.

The landslide struck at 3 a.m., when most residents were asleep, further compounding the tragedy.

In a letter to the United Nations, Lusete Laso Mana, an official in the national disaster center, said that rescue efforts have been challenging given that the ground remains unstable, according to the New York Times. Mana said that there is an “ongoing danger to both the rescue teams and survivors alike.”

“The landslide buried more than 2,000 people alive and caused major destruction to buildings, food gardens and caused major impact on the economic lifeline of the country,” Mana wrote.

In addition to those who were trapped in the rubble, the U.N. estimated that 250 more homes have been abandoned due to fears of further slippage and the landslide has displaced around 1,250 residents.

“This situation necessitates immediate action and international support to mitigate further losses and provide essential aid to those affected,” said Anne Mandal, a spokeswoman for the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration.

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The White House also sent its condolences to those affected by the landslide. In a statement, President Joe Biden said that he and first lady Jill Biden were “heartbroken” by the deaths.

“Our prayers are with all the families impacted by this tragedy and all the first responders who are putting themselves in harm’s way to help their fellow citizens,” Biden said.

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