The United Nations International Organization for Migration (IOM) has announced that at least 670 people are estimated to have lost their lives in a landslide in Papua New Guinea, an island nation north of Australia.

Serhan Aktoprak, IOM's regional officer, told the Australian television channel ABC that the scale of the disaster was far beyond what was initially estimated. "Estimates suggest that 150 or more houses will be buried six to eight meters deep. Our concern is that 670 or more people have lost their lives."

30 candidates in a village of 46 inhabitants! 30 candidates in a village of 46 inhabitants!

Stating that search and rescue operations in the area where the disaster occurred are being carried out with difficulty, Aktoprak pointed out that the dense mass of soil that continues to collapse and the fragments breaking off from the rocks pose a "great danger" for those carrying out relief work and that this increases the compressive force on the places under the ground. Serhan Aktoprak said that both relief workers and the 1,250 people in the region were trying to find safe shelter.

Papua New Guinea on earthquake fault line

Papua New Guinea, which is close to the equator line, often experiences heavy downpours, has a population of 10 million. The island country is also located on the fault line, which is also described as the "Pacific Ring of Fire" in terms of seismic activity. In the country, where earthquakes occur frequently, the last tremor of 4.5 magnitude was recorded 10 days ago. It is not yet known whether there is a connection between earthquakes and landslides.

The landslide that occurred in Papua New Guinea at around 03:00 local time on Friday occurred in the Enga region, 600 kilometers from the capital Port Moresby. The Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that six villages were affected by the disaster, while IOM announced that more than 100 houses, a school, many shops and a gas station were buried under the soil.

Editor: David Goodman