Catastrophic landslide in Papua New Guinea: Up to 2,000 people may have been buried.

Papua New Guinea’s disaster management agency has said in a letter to the United Nations that up to 2,000 people may have been buried by last week’s devastating landslide, according to a report by CNN.

The landslide occurred last Friday in the mountainous Enga region in the north of the country. As CNN reports, it was initially thought that around 100 people may have died. This estimate was later increased to 670. But the latest figures point to a far greater tragedy.

“The landslide buried more than 2,000 people, caused enormous destruction of buildings and fields and had a significant impact on the country’s economic lifeline,” Lusete Laso Mana, acting director of the National Disaster Management, was quoted as saying. He added that the situation remains unstable as the landslide moves slowly and both rescue teams and survivors are in constant danger.

The landslide hit a remote village about 600 kilometers northwest of the capital Port Moresby, leaving a path of destruction. Over 150 houses were buried by rubble, CNN reports.

It is still unclear what triggered the landslide. However, Alan Collins, a geology professor at the University of Adelaide, suggested heavy rains may have altered the mineralization in the rock, weakening the rock forming the steep slopes.