PNG leader Marape says extraordinary weather causing disasters

May 30, 2024 7:20 am

[Source: Reuters]

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape on Wednesday blamed “extraordinary rainfall” and changes to weather patterns for multiple disasters in the Pacific Island nation this year, including a landslide last week which may have killed thousands.

Parts of a mountain in the Maip-Mulitaka area in Enga province in PNG’s north collapsed in the early hours of Friday and Marape said more than 2,000 people are estimated to have died, with up to 70,000 people living in the area impacted by the disaster.

Natural disasters have cost the country more than 500 million kina ($126 million) this year, before the landslide at Enga, he said.

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Deputy Prime Minister John Rosso said: “The climate change effects that are here now is not just in Enga, for the last two months we have seen unprecedented disasters throughout the country.”

Defence Minister Billy Joseph arrived in Enga on Wednesday with relief supplies including food, water, blankets and tents provided by Australia on two Australian military aircraft.

Australia’s High Commissioner John Feakes said in Enga more plane loads, with supplies and Australian rescue personnel and technical teams would arrive in coming days, the PNG Post-Courier reported.

The United States has pledged 2 million kina ($506,800.00) for emergency shelter and logistics support, its embassy said.

Authorities have raised concerns about the outbreak of diseases amid warnings of further landslides. Thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate.