Eastern Highlands police commander Chief Superintendent Alex N’Drasal confirmed to local media that the landslide occurred as a result of continuous heavy rain in the area.
The family were buried alive, with just dad, Belden Noahiri, surviving the tragedy last week but the news only filtered through to police yesterday, N’Drasal said.
The deaths closely follow a bus accident in Lae that left seven people dead and eight seriously injured. The bus plunged into a drain along the new four-lane highway.
N’Drasal said the landslide occurred between 11pm last Wednesday and 1am on Thursday when the family were sleeping in their house.
“The lone survivor was their father Belden Noahiri, he escaped with major injuries and is now recovering at the Goroka Provincial Hospital,” N’Drasal said.
He identified the deceased as Paro Oranta (mother), daughters Hilda Junia, 17, Delma Belden, 9, Gojuiyo Belden and the pregnant daughter Avis Junia, 18. The only male perished in the landslide was son Simon Ben, 13. They are all from Anima village in Lamari local level government area of Obura-Wonenara district.
N’Drasal said three houses, two bush material and a semi-permanent one, were buried in the landslide and several domestic animals were killed and gardens destroyed.
“Nearby villagers responded quickly to dig up the landslide and retrieved the bodies of those who perished, the body of the pregnant daughter was yet to be retrieved,” he said.
“Police in Aiuyra and Obura-Wonenara district administration officers visited the landslide to assess the damage.”
N’Drasal called on the people of Eastern Highlands to be aware of natural disasters, especially during the current rainy period.
He said people with houses at the foot of mountains and hills should relocate to higher grounds to avoid deadly surprises. The National/ ONEPNG