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Best of the Web: More than 2,000 people killed by massive landslide in Papua New Guinea (UPDATES)

Locals were trying to sift through the rubble with what equipment was still to hand on Friday
© Ninga Role/AAP/IMAGOLocals were trying to sift through the rubble with what equipment was still to hand on Friday
More than 100 people are believed to have been killed Friday in a landslide that buried a village in a remote, mountainous part of Papua New Guinea, and an emergency response is underway, the South Pacific island nation's leader and news media said.

The landslide reportedly hit Kaokalam village in Enga province, about 600 kilometers (370 miles) northwest of the capital, Port Moresby, at roughly 3 a.m., Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Residents said estimates of the death toll were above 100, although authorities have not confirmed that figure. Villagers said the number of people killed could be much higher.

Prime Minister James Marape said authorities were responding and he would release information about the destruction and loss of life when it was available.

Comment: Update May 26

Al Jazeera reports:
The International Organization for Migration has increased its estimate of the death toll from a massive landslide in Papua New Guinea (PNG) to more than 670.

Serhan Aktoprak, the chief of the United Nations agency's mission in the South Pacific island nation, said on Sunday the revised death toll was based on calculations by Yambali village and Enga provincial officials that more than 150 homes had been buried by Friday's landslide.

The previous estimate had been 60 homes.

"They are estimating that more than 670 people [are] under the soil at the moment," Aktoprak said.

"The situation is terrible with the land still sliding. The water is running and this is creating a massive risk for eveyrone involved," added Aktoprak, who is based in capital, Port Moresby.

Local officials had initially put the death toll on Friday at 100 or more. Only five bodies and a leg of a sixth victim had been recovered by Sunday, while seven people, including a child, had received medical treatment.

Authorities are trying to establish evacuation centres on safer ground on either side of the massive swath of debris.

Meanwhile, emergency responders were moving survivors of the massive landslide to safer ground as tonnes of unstable earth and tribal warfare, which is rife in the country's highlands, threatened the rescue effort.

Damage to infrastructure also made it more difficult for rescue and relief efforts to reach the area, according to Justine McMahon, a CARE Australia humanitarian group representative in PNG.

"The ground is quite unstable, making it difficult for rescuers to get in. The main road has also been cut off by about 200 metres [656 feet], hampering relief," she told Al Jazeera.

Car-sized boulders

Heavy earth-moving equipment are yet to arrive at the mountainous location 600km (370 miles) northwest of Port Moresby.

At some points, the landslide - a mix of car-sized boulders, uprooted trees and churned-up earth - was thought to be 8 metres (26 feet) deep.

Aid agencies said the catastrophe had effectively wiped out the village's livestock, food gardens and sources of clean water.
Update May 27

AP reports:
A Papua New Guinea government official has told the United Nations that more than 2,000 people are believed to have been buried alive by last Friday's landslide and has formally asked for international help.

The government figure is roughly triple the U.N. estimate of 670 killed by the landslide in the South Pacific island nation's mountainous interior. The remains of only five people had been recovered by Monday, local authorities reported. It was not immediately clear why the tally of six reported on Sunday had been revised down.

In a letter to the United Nations resident coordinator dated Sunday and seen by The Associated Press, the acting director of the country's National Disaster Center, Luseta Laso Mana, said the landslide "buried more than 2,000 people alive" and caused "major destruction" in Yambali village in Enga province.

Cloud Precipitation

Cyclone floods villages, blows away roofs and cuts power in Bangladesh and India - 65 killed, 800,000 evacuated (UPDATE)

A cyclone has flooded coastal villages, blew away thatched roofs and left hundreds of thousands of people without power in southern Bangladesh and eastern India.

At least seven deaths as a result of the cyclone have been reported.

Dozens of Bangladeshi villages were flooded after flood protection embankments either washed away or were damaged by the storm surge, TV stations reported. Nearly 800,000 people had been evacuated from vulnerable areas in Bangladesh on Sunday.

Authorities have given no casualty figures yet, but Dhaka-based Somoy TV reported that at least seven people died. Two others were missing in a boat capsizing, the station said.

Comment: Update May 29

AFP reports:
Cyclone toll in Bangladesh and India rises to 65

A powerful cyclone that smashed into low-lying Bangladesh and India killed at least 65 people, including in torrential rain storms in its wake, state government officials and media said Wednesday.

Cyclone Remal, which made landfall on Sunday evening with fierce gales and crashing waves, moved slowly inland causing floods and triggering landslides.


Late May snowfall in Talas, Kyrgyzstan

A snowfall was reported in Kopuro-Bazar village in Talas district on May 26, local residents report.

The village is located in a mountainous area. A sudden cold snap and snowfall occurred on May 26.


Indonesia's Mount Ibu erupts again, spews ash cloud miles high

At least 1,800 residents in seven villages were evacuated, according to local authorities, who have recommended that a 4.35 mile (7 km) radius be cleared.

Ibu's activities follow a series of eruptions of different volcanoes in Indonesia, which sits on the Pacific 'Ring of Fire' and has 127 active volcanoes.



Best of the Web: 20 tornadoes kill at least 19 people across 4 states in America

Scenes from a Shell gas station and travel stop on I-35 at the Lone Oak exit near Valley View, Texas, on Sunday, May 26, 2024.
Scenes from a Shell gas station and travel stop on I-35 at the Lone Oak exit near Valley View, Texas, on Sunday, May 26, 2024.
Children were among the seven deaths reported in Texas after a tornado hit a travel stop and RV park. Officials have also confirmed at least eight storm related deaths in Arkansas, two in Oklahoma and two in Kentucky.

At least 19 people were killed during a severe weather outbreak over Memorial Day weekend that brought tornadoes and tennis-ball-sized hail and knocked out power to thousands across the southern Plains overnight on Saturday.

The worst of the storm hit in the overnight hours when at least 20 tornadoes were seen by radar or in person across the region, according to the FOX Forecast Center. Storm damage was reported in Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

The National Weather Service reported that a long-track, supercell thunderstorm spawned multiple tornadoes.

Some of the most devastating damage in Texas happened outside the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where Cooke County Sheriff Ray Sappington said in a news conference that seven people were killed and more than 100 were injured. The sheriff said that two children were among the dead.

This is the deadliest tornado in Texas state history since 2015. The NWS gave it a preliminary rating of EF-2 with 135 mph winds. Another tornado that devastated Montague County was also rated a preliminary EF-2.


Six-year-old girl mauled to death by stray dogs in Uttar Pradesh, India

dog attack
In a heart-wrenching incident reported from Uttar Pradesh, stray dogs mauled a six-year-old girl to death while her toddler brother was injured in Kanpur district of the state on Sunday night, an official said.

The incident took place late on Sunday night where the stray dogs attacked the siblings in CTI Basti of Govind Nagar police station area.

An official said that the siblings 6-year-old Khushi and 2-year-old son Bhola were playing outside their house on Sunday night when a pack of stray dogs attacked them causing grievous injuries to both of them. The children's parents Chhotu, who works as a waiter at weddings and Pooja, who works as a manual scavenger were away for work when the attack took place. Locals, who heard the screams of the children rushed to the spot and chased away the dogs. But by then the girl had succumbed while her brother has been admitted to the hospital for treatment.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning strike kills Colorado rancher and 34 head of cattle

A lightning strike killed a rancher and more than 30 cows and calves Saturday in Jackson County.
© Shannon LukensA lightning strike killed a rancher and more than 30 cows and calves Saturday in Jackson County.
A lightning strike killed a Colorado rancher and 34 head of cattle over the weekend, officials said Sunday.

Mike Morgan, 51, was feeding his cattle from a trailer when he was struck and died on the scene despite life-saving efforts, the Jackson County Sheriff's Office said.

The lightning bolt struck on wide open pasture outside the town of Rand, about 80 miles (129 kilometers) northwest of Denver, said George Crocket, the county coroner.

The strike also bowled over around 100 head of cattle that had bunched around the trailer loaded with hay, said Crocket. "All but the 34 got up," he said.

Morgan's father-in-law and wife were nearby but survived the blast, said Crocket.

The incident stunned the small, tightknit community where most everybody knows everybody, Crockett said.



6.6 magnitude earthquake hits the Tonga archipelago

A magnitude 6.6 earthquake hit the Tonga archipelago in the South Pacific this morning, the US Geological Survey (USGS) announced.

The earthquake was at a depth of about 112 kilometers, less than 200 kilometers north of Nuku'alofa, the capital of the Tonga archipelago.

So far, there are no reports of material damage.

The Pacific Tsunami Monitoring Center has not issued a warning.


Hundreds of brown pelicans are starving to death in California - despite plenty to eat

Hundreds of starving birds are showing up on California beaches
Hundreds of starving birds are showing up on California beaches
For the second time in two years, large numbers of brown pelicans are showing up sick and injured along California's coastline, and scientists are racing to find out why.

As of this week, hundreds of these birds have died. Current evidence points to starvation as the cause, despite there being plenty of food (typically surface dwelling fish like herring or anchovies) for them to eat. Though the species are also found on the east coast of the U.S., the Atlantic birds aren't suffering a similar trend.

"We don't know why, but [the west coast pelicans] are not finding the food that they need," says Jeni Smith, the zoological curator of animal rescue programs at SeaWorld San Diego. "And if that's the case, then they are looking for it elsewhere, and that might explain why they are inland or in unusual locations."

Cloud Precipitation

Floods in Armenia's north kill 2

The mayor of Alaverdi town has confirmed that one person has been killed in their community by the May 26 floods in Armenia's northern regions that brings the number of casualties to two as search and rescue efforts continue.

Davit Ghumashyan told that the casualty, who is a resident of Deghdsavan village, can be seen in the car that is the water.

"He is in the car at the moment, it appears that we have one casualty. He is a man. He is a resident of Deghdsavan," he said.

He mentioned that the evacuation works are almost finished in Alaverdi. "There are a few people left who have not been evacuated yet, but there is no problem, we will evacuate them too," he added.