Landslide Buries Village in Papua New Guinea, Killing at Least 3

A massive landslide devastated a remote village in Papua New Guinea early Friday, killing at least three people and leaving many more missing, as at least 100 homes were damaged and water, power and a major highway were cut off, United Nations officials said.

The authorities in Papua New Guinea, an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, had not released a death toll as of Friday evening. Witnesses said that the landslide struck Yambali, a village of about 3,900 people at the foot of a mountain in Enga Province, while people were asleep and that rocks had buried several homes in a swath of the village.

Three bodies had been recovered by Friday evening, but search efforts were delayed by a blocked highway and the size of the fallen rocks, said a U.N. official, Serhan Aktoprak, the chief of mission for the International Organization for Migration’s office in Papua New Guinea.

After the landslide occurred at 3 a.m., villagers spent Friday scaling boulders larger than shipping containers, looking for bodies, said Benjamin Sipa, a senior project assistant at the U.N. agency who was in the village assessing the damage. “We know there are a lot of people there, but we couldn’t really count up all of them,” he said.

Kenneth Londe, a primary schoolteacher in Yambali said he saw that more than 10 houses had been buried in limestone debris, which crushed families, livestock, gardens and stores across a six-mile stretch.

“The homes are completely invisible now,” he said in an interview. “We cannot even find a single roof.”

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