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PNG’s National Disaster Centre fears the landslide may have buried more than 2000 people alive (ABC News)

Caritas Australia has launched an appeal for Papua New Guinea following the catastrophic landslide that struck the Pacific nation on Friday, as Pope Francis expressed his sorrow and offered prayers for the victims.

Remote communities in Papua New Guinea have been devastated by a catastrophic landslide that struck the Enga province at 3am on May 24. The timing of the landslide meant most people were sleeping at the time of the disaster, with little time to escape.

PNG’s National Disaster Centre fears the landslide may have buried more than 2000 people alive, the BBC reports, a figure far higher than the 670 the United Nations suggested over the weekend.

The ongoing search and rescue operations are facing challenges due to the hazardous terrain and the continuous threat of landslides, resulting in slower progress. The affected area remains highly unstable, which is hampering search and rescue efforts.

In a telegram sent by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Pope Francis conveyed his heartfelt condolences and solidarity with the grieving families and all those affected by this tragedy.

The Pope emphasised his spiritual closeness to everyone affected by the disaster, praying especially for the deceased, those who mourn their loss, and for the rescue of the many still missing.

“His Holiness offers encouragement to the civil authorities and emergency personnel as they continue their relief efforts,” the telegram read, adding that he “willingly invokes upon all the divine blessings of consolation and strength.”

Caritas Australia’s partners on the ground in PNG are conducting a rapid needs assessment in the affected villages to determine the most urgent priorities.

The recovery is expected to be long, and food, shelter and clean water are amongst the most urgent needs for people who have lost their homes because of the landslide.

Caritas Australia has launched an appeal to support partners on the ground and those affected by the devastation. Details: 


Caritas agencies on the ground assessing devastation in Papua New Guinea (Caritas Australia)

Papua New Guinea fears thousands buried after landslide (By Frances Mao, BBC News)

Pope sends condolences to victims of Papua New Guinea landslide (By Francesa Merlo, Vatican News)