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Death roll rises to 670 after massive landslide devastates village in Papua New Guinea

Villagers search through a landslide in Yambali, in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, Sunday, May 26, 2024.
Villagers search through a landslide in Yambali, in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, Sunday, May 26, 2024. Copyright Mohamud Omer/AP
Copyright Mohamud Omer/AP
By Euronews with AP
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The International Organization for Migration on Sunday increased its estimate of the death toll from a massive landslide in Papua New Guinea to more than 670.

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The death toll from a deadly landslide in Papua New Guinea has risen to nearly 700, with rescuers now giving up hope of finding survivors.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) put the number of dead from the disaster, which hit Yambali village and in the northern Enga province, at 670 on Sunday. 

Serhan Aktoprak, chief of the IOM's mission in the country, said the death toll was based on calculations after more than 150 homes were buried by Friday’s landslide. 

“They are estimating that more than 670 people (are) under the soil at the moment,” he said.

Crews have given up hope of finding survivors under earth six to eight metres deep, Aktoprak added.

“People are coming to terms with this so there is a serious level of grieving and mourning.”

Local officials had initially put the death toll at 100 or more, with 60 homes buried. 

On Sunday, emergency responders moved survivors to safer grounds as unstable ground threatened the rescue effort.

The South Pacific island’s government is considering whether it needs to officially request additional international support.

The government established evacuation centres on either side of the debris – which covered an area the size of three or four football fields and cut the main highway through the province.

Convoys have been transporting food, water and other supplies to the devastated village since Saturday.

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