Three tsunamis that ripped through Papua New Guinea's northwest coast 10 days ago killed at least 2,000 and the toll is likely to rise further, rescue officials said on Monday.
They also said more ground around a corpse-clogged lagoon would be sealed off because the area had become badly contaminated by decomposing bodies.The latest toll is an increase of about 500 in the number known to have died when the three tidal waves hit on July 17.
Police commissioner Peter Aigilo said 10,068 survivors had been identified and 1,131 people had been treated at hospitals in Aitape, Vanimo and Wewak since the waves swept over a string of small fishing villages around Sis-sano lagoon.
"The death toll so far is 2,000 and this figure is expected to increase as more dead bodies are recovered from the Sissano lagoon and the mangrove swamp," Aigilo said in a statement dated July 26 but released on Monday.
Rescuers were still trying to assess the number of missing.