India stands in solidarity with Papua New Guinea in this difficult time: EAM on landslide deaths

New Delhi, May 27 (UNI) External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday expressed sadness at the loss of lives in Papua New Guinea, following a massive landslide that has killed nearly 700 people in the South Pacific Ocean island nation.

In a post on X, EAM said that India stands with the government and people of Papua New Guinea in this difficult time.

“Deeply saddened by the loss of lives in Papua New Guinea following the recent landslide.

“Our thoughts are with the Government and the people. India stands in solidarity with our friends at this difficult time.”

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 670 people are believed to have been killed in a massive landslide in Papua New Guinea, as emergency workers and relatives gave up hope that any survivors would be found.

The death toll from the landslide on Friday had been estimated at more than 300, but 48 hours later the IOM said it may be more than double that, with the full extent of destruction still unclear.

Aid and rescue efforts in the South Pacific island nation, about 2,300km north of Australia, are being hindered by dangerous conditions on the ground.

The chief of the IOM’s mission to Papua New Guinea, Serhan Aktoprak, said the toll was based on calculations by local and provincial officials that more than 150 homes had been buried by the landslide. A previous estimate had been 60 homes.

“Land is still sliding, rocks are falling, ground soil is cracking due to constant increased pressure and ground water is running, thus the area is posing an extreme risk for everyone,” Aktoprak said in a statement.

More than 250 houses near the stricken area of Yambali village in Enga province had been abandoned and about 1,250 people had been displaced, the agency said, with many taking temporary shelter with relatives and friends.

Meanwhile, a Papua New Guinea government official told the United Nations over 2,000 people were believed to have been buried alive by Friday’s landslide and has asked for international help.

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