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    More than 2,000 people died in a landslide in Papua New Guinea

    Villagers use any tool to dig up bodies after a landslide in Papua New Guinea Photo: Mohamud Omer/AP

    More than 2,000 people died in a landslide that swept through a remote village in Papua New Guinea.

    “The landslide buried more than 2,000 people alive and caused widespread destruction,” the UN office at the country's national emergency center said. Port Moresby

    The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said earlier on Sunday that only five bodies had been recovered from the rubble.

    More than six villages were affected by the landslide in the province's Mulitaka district, about 600 km (370 miles) from the capital Port Moresby, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said.

    “The ground is still slipping, rocks are falling, the soil is cracking due to constant high pressure, and the groundwater flowing in this area poses an extreme risk to everyone,” IOM head Serhan Aktoprak said.

    According to agency, more than 250 houses nearby were abandoned by residents who took temporary refuge with their relatives and friends, and about 1,250 people were forced to leave their homes.

    “People use digging sticks, shovels and large farm forks to pull out bodies buried underground,” Mr Aktoprak said.

    IOM said more than 100 homes, a primary school, small businesses were buried and stalls, a guest house, a gas station.

    More than 100 houses, schools, businesses and even a patrol station are buried. Photo: Kafuri Yaro/UNDP, Papua New Guinea, AP < p>Footage posted on social media by Ninga Role village resident showed people clambering over rocks, uprooted trees and piles of earth in search of survivors. Women can be heard crying in the background.

    The UN office in Papua New Guinea said three bodies had been recovered from the area where 50 to 60 houses had been destroyed and six people, including a child, were recovered from the wreckage alive.

    It said many of those buried had not yet been located as search and rescue efforts continued in the highlands of the country, which shares the island of New Guinea with Indonesia.

    Aid group Care Australia said late on Saturday that There were approximately 4,000 people living in the affected area, but the number of casualties was likely higher because the area is “a place of refuge for those displaced by conflict” in nearby areas.

    At least 26 people were killed in Enga province in February in an ambush amid tribal violence, prompting Prime Minister James Marape to grant arrest powers to the country's military.

    The rescue operation is complicated by the large number of people displaced by recent tribal conflict. Photo: Mohamud Omer/International Organization for Migration, AP

    The landslide left debris up to 8 meters (25 feet) deep. The 200-square-kilometer (80-square-mile) area blocks access to roads and makes aid difficult, Care said. Helicopters were the only way to reach the area, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

    Aid groups said more homes could be at risk if the landslide continues down the mountain as the terrain remains unstable.

    Mr Marape said officials from the Disaster Service, Defense Force and Department of Works and Highways were assisting with relief and recovery efforts.

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