Australia Ready to Help Papua New Guinea After Landslide Claims Nearly 700 Lives

The two countries discuss relief efforts after the deadly landslide in Enga province.
Australia Ready to Help Papua New Guinea After Landslide Claims Nearly 700 Lives
Villagers search through a landslide in Yambali, in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, on May 26, 2024. (Mohamud Omer/International Organization for Migration via AP)

Australia is ready to provide help to Papua New Guinea after a deadly landslide killed almost 700 people.

The United Nations migration agency estimates more than 670 people have died, and are buried beneath the rubble in a remote part of the country’s Enga province.

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said government officials have been in discussions with their PNG counterparts about support since the incident on May 24.

“This is an absolute tragedy,” he told ABC’s RN on Monday.

“I know that every Papuan New Guinea today will be feeling it, as every Australian today is feeling it on their behalf.

“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.”

Mr. Marles said the “exact nature of the support” that Australia could give would be finalised in the coming days, with airlift capacity to help get people to the site.

“We’ve been talking to the PNG government about the assistance that we can provide, and 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 said.

The geographic remoteness and the tough terrain, have slowed rescue and aid efforts.