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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Rain hinders PNG landslide rescue effort

Via ABC News, excerpt :

" Rescue teams are arriving at the site of a deadly landslide in Papua New Guinea, but continuing wet weather and fears of another landslide are hampering their efforts.

Tumbi village near Tari, in the country's Southern Highlands, is now a mess of millions of cubic metres of rock and soil.

The landslide area is about one kilometre long and several hundred metres wide. Some of the boulders dislodged are the size of cars.

Thousands of people have gathered at the site, many with mud smeared on their faces in a sign of mourning.

PNG prime minister Peter O'Neill has inspected the area and vowed to investigate the cause of the disaster.

Mr O'Neill said an independent team of investigators would be appointed to determine the cause and he promised to help relocate those affected and to find their loved ones.

'A huge task'

Andrew Alphonse, a senior reporter from the PNG Post Courier who spent the day at Tumbi village, says locals have named 26 people they believe have been buried underneath the landslide.

He told Radio Australia's Asia Pacific that operations to retrieve the bodies have not officially started because of the difficult conditions."

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