World News

Papua New Guinea natural disaster death toll reaches 67 as aftershocks strike

Papua New Guinea natural disaster death toll reaches 67 as aftershocks strike

Two powerful earthquakes with some 6.0 magnitude hit Papua New Guinea on Monday, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said.

At least three aftershocks greater than magnitude 5 struck the Southern Highlands region in the morning, including the magnitude 6.0 quake, about 600 km northwest of capital Port Moresby.

"We haven't slept. It's been shaking all through the night", said William Bando, provincial administrator of Hela Province, by telephone from Tari, about 40 km from where the shocks hit.

Compounding the fallout was an announcement Monday that the impoverished country's biggest-ever development - the Papua New Guinea LNG project operated by USA energy giant ExxonMobil - would be offline for up to eight weeks as the quake-hit facilities are repaired.

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Mr. Elluh said a major hiccup in receiving timely reports was the communication lines in the province after reports of telecommunication towers damaged across the affected areas in the Highlands region.

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

Emergency deliveries have been hampered due to landslides, damaged roads, collapsed buildings and the remote location of the area.

"New Zealand stands ready to assist Papua New Guinea".


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