Australia prepares to help Papua New Guinea after deadly landslide

Sydney, May 27 (IANS/DPA) Australia is poised to send help to the site of a deadly Papua New Guinea landslide where 670 people are feared to have been killed.

Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said government officials had been in touch with Papua New Guinea counterparts since Friday when the landslide occurred.

“Ours are two countries which are very, very close together, and in moments of natural disaster, they have been very, very quick to support us, and we are doing the same thing,” Marles told the Australian public broadcaster ABC on Monday.

He said the “exact nature of the support” that Australia could give would be finalised in the coming days.

This could include airlift capacity and search and rescue equipment, Marles said.

“It’s just now a matter of working out exactly what we can do in the context of this occurring in a very remote part of the country,” he added.

Several villages in the province of Enga were hit when part of a mountain collapsed in the early hours of Friday in the remote central highlands of Papua New Guinea.

On Sunday, the country head of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Serhan Aktoprak, said nearly 670 people were feared to be dead and 150 houses buried in thick soil.

Papua New Guinea, with a population of nearly10 million people, lies just north of Australia.

Despite being rich in minerals, timber, oil, and gas, its history of colonialism, political instability, and mismanagement of resources has kept its people impoverished.



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