27 May 2009

Three bodies recovered and 16 still missing in PNG following a landslide

3:26 pm on 27 May 2009

Three bodies have been recovered and 16 people are missing, feared dead, after a massive landslide wiped out a remote Papua New Guinea village.

Villagers had to walk three hours to alert authorities in Morobe Province, on PNG's northwest coast, after days of continual heavy rains caused the landslide early on Monday.

Authorities and local media reports say at least five Firangka village houses were wiped out in the Sialum District when the face of an overlooking mountain slid for more than 500 metres, carving up 200 metres at its widest.

PNG's National newspaper reported villagers as saying that 19 people, including women and children, were missing.

The Deputy Provincial administrator and other local officials visited the remote site by helicopter yesterday.

One official said PNG's National Disaster and Emergency Office would see relief supplies reach the area by Thursday.