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

The exact number of losses is almost impossible to confirm at the moment. Numbers vary widely. As of Monday morning, fewer than twelve bodies had been recovered. The UN estimates the number of missing at 670, based on the fact that more than 150 houses are under rubble.

The search for people is complicated by the specific terrain and unstable ground. The thickness of the mud cover reaches 6 to 8 meters. Damaged roads make it difficult to deliver aid. Heavy equipment has not yet arrived at the disaster one. Local residents are reportedly trying to find survivors by digging under the rubble with sticks, shovels, and their bare hands. The tragedy happened on the night of May 24 in the mountainous province of Enga. Before the disaster, about 3,800 people lived in that area. 

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