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Papua New Guinea: Marles pledges support for Papua New Guinea after landslid...

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Published Time: 27.05.2024 - 03:03:10 Modified Time: 27.05.2024 - 03:03:10

Pierre Rognon from the University of Sydney’s School of Civil Engineering said landslide rescues are particularly challenging. Papua New Guinea


More than 670 are missing and presumed dead in the country’s Northern Enga province, where more than 150 homes were covered in up to eight metres of rubble. More than 1,250 in the area have been evacuated for fears there may be more to come.

“We’ve got, obviously, airlift capacity to get there and there may be other equipment that we can bring to bear in terms of the search and rescue … It’s just now a matter of working out exactly what we can do in the context of this occurring in a very remote part of the country.”

Search and rescue efforts in the area could take weeks or even months, as locals continue to dig with hand tools and sticks. Access to the area for foreign aid workers is geographically challenging, toughened further by the destruction of transport infrastructure, and local inter-clan violence.

Pierre Rognon from the University of Sydney’s School of Civil Engineering said landslide rescues are particularly challenging.

“Earthquakes can collapse structures and trap underneath the rubbles, which we know is bad enough in terms of search and rescue. Landslides do this too — they can bury collapsed structures and under dozens of meters of geomaterials.

“To make things worse, they can move structures and trap over hundreds of meters. No one can predict exactly where potential survivors may be located and where to start looking for them.

“Landslides are prone to replica as they often leave steep, unstable slopes behind.”

The government has spent much of its term courting Papua New Guinea with special receptions, and prime ministers Marape and Albanese taking the Kokoda Track, and spending ANZAC Day together.

READ MORE:

Australia and PNG’s future entwined, PM says

Dan Holmes is a journalist with The Mandarin. Dan joined the Mandarin in 2024, after working with the Daily Advertiser in Wagga. Previous publications include Crikey, The Canberra Times and The Guardian. He was a awarded a Master of Media Practice by Sydney University in 2022.

Asia-Pacific natural disasters Papua New Guinea PNG Richard Marles Search and rescue southeast Asia University of Sydney

By Dan Holmes

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