· Vatican City ·

The Holy Father sends condolences to victims of Papua New Guinea landslide

 The Holy Father sends condolences to victims of  Papua New Guinea landslide  ING-022
31 May 2024

Upon learning of the news of a landslide that struck Papua New Guinea on Friday, 24 May, killing over 2,000 people, the Holy Father expressed his “spiritual closeness to all those affected by this disaster” in a telegram addressed to Monsignor Mauro Lalli, Apostolic Nuncio of Port Moresby.

The Holy Father offered words of encouragement to the civil authorities and emergency personnel, “praying especially for the dead, those who mourn their loss, and for the rescue of the many persons still missing”, and he “willingly invokes upon all the divine blessings of consolation and strength”.

The landslide took place early on Friday morning in Enga province and swept through six villages, causing widespread devastation. According to Papua New Guinea’s National Disaster Centre, over 2,000 people are feared to have been buried alive. They have been unable to establish an exact number of casualties, with estimates varying widely due to the challenging conditions of the rescue operations underway amidst rubble as deep as 10 meters in some places and with a lack of proper equipment.

Papua New Guinea’s authorities say nearly 7,900 people living near the site of the deadly landslide are “at risk” as rock and debris continue to move down the hillside.

There are however, glimmers of hope amid the tragedy. Local media reported that a couple was pulled alive from the debris after their home only caught the edge of the landslide. They were rescued after rescue workers heard their shouts for help.

The region remains at high risk, with further rain forecasts, and remaining residents are being evacuated.