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Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Attributes Deadly Landslide to Unprecedented Rainfall and Climate Change

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Attributes Deadly Landslide to Unprecedented Rainfall and Climate Change

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister, James Marape, has attributed the recent spate of disasters in the Pacific Island nation to what he describes as “extraordinary rainfall” and shifting weather patterns. Marape’s remarks come in the wake of a devastating landslide in the Maip-Mulitaka area of Enga province, resulting in significant loss of life and widespread destruction.

Addressing parliament, Marape revealed that the landslide, which occurred in the early hours of last Friday, is estimated to have claimed the lives of over 2,000 people, with a staggering 70,000 individuals affected by the calamity. He lamented the tragedy, emphasizing the suddenness with which the disaster unfolded, leaving residents of the affected village unaware of the impending danger as they slept peacefully.

While estimates of the death toll have varied, Marape underscored the broader impact of natural disasters on Papua New Guinea, citing costs exceeding 500 million kina ($126 million) before the Enga landslide. He highlighted the unprecedented nature of this year’s weather events, which have manifested in flooding, sea level rise, and landslides across the country.

Echoing Marape’s concerns, Deputy Prime Minister John Rosso underscored the widespread nature of climate change effects, emphasizing their implications beyond Enga province.

The gravity of the situation was further underscored by aid worker Mate Bagossy, who described the catastrophic scale of the landslide, which buried an entire village along with critical infrastructure such as shops, schools, and a fuel station. Bagossy’s eyewitness account paints a stark picture of the devastation wrought by the disaster.

Efforts to respond to the crisis have been hampered by the challenging terrain and ongoing tribal conflicts, complicating rescue and relief operations. The United Nations and various international partners have mobilized resources to support the government’s response, with concerns mounting over the risk of disease outbreaks and the urgent need for medical assistance.

As Papua New Guinea grapples with the aftermath of this unprecedented disaster, the government’s collaboration with international partners underscores the collective effort to mitigate the humanitarian impact and address the long-term challenges posed by climate change.



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