Friday, 22 February, 2019

Papua New Guinea: At least 18 killed in quake aftershock

The Gobe production facility for the PNG LNG plant The Gobe production facility which feeds PNG LNG
Melinda Barton | 07 March, 2018, 10:20

A team of six emergency experts from the United Nations office for the co-ordination of humanitarian affairs has been deployed to Papua New Guinea to assist the Government in response to the quake disaster efforts in the Highlands.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck at 12:13 a.m. local time Wednesday morning (9:13 a.m. EST Tuesday morning) about 70 miles southwest of Porgera.

William Bando, the administrator of Hela Province, said initial reports put the death toll from the aftershock at 18.

Last week's disaster was described by Australian officials based in the country as the biggest quake to hit the highland region in a century.

"People are in great fear of their lives as the quakes are continuing ever since it started", he said.

The toll on Monday stood at 55 killed, said James Justin, a research officer at the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy in Port Moresby, as news of more deaths arrived in the capital by shortwave radio. "They actually want to know when it will stop".

Regmi added that water and sanitation were major concerns for local communities, with relief workers unable to get bigger trucks carrying food through to some areas because of damage to roads by landslides.

Aid agencies have said almost 150,000 people remain in urgent need of emergency supplies.

The natural disaster, which struck shortly after midnight local time, was the most severe aftershock in an area badly damaged by a magnitude 7.5 quake that flattened villages and caused landslides, killing at least 55 people.