A 7.6 magnitude earthquake in eastern Papua New Guinea on Sunday (September 11) left at least five dead and several seriously injured and damaged buildings.
MP Kessy Sawang told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that at least two people died in remote mountain villages in her constituency and that four others, in critical condition, were airlifted to the hospital. “The damage is considerable”she said, adding that a landslide buried houses and “split” in two a village in which the inhabitants have “lost their homes”.
Earlier, on his account Facebook, she said she feared that the human toll would be heavier in the villages located in the massif of the Finisterre mountains and certain regions of the coast. Of the “people and houses were buried and destroyed”she added.
In the nearby town of Wau, the Koranga mine site announced that three miners died after being buried. In this region, the means of communication are limited and the paved roads few, which complicates the rescue operations and the assessment of the damage. Small airlines and missionary organizations took part in airlifting some of the wounded into the jungle.
Residents of northern towns near the epicenter reported strong tremors mid-morning that cracked roads and loosened coatings from buildings.
In the town of Goroka, located in the mountainous eastern region of the country, images sent by residents to AFP or posted on social media showed blinds and windows coming loose from cracked university walls. by the jolt.
[EN COURS] – Goroka University was damaged as a powerful 7.6 magnitude earthquake af… https://t.co/10RZny4EPX
Residents of Madang and Lae, towns near the epicenter, said the tremor was particularly powerful. ” Very strong “even said Hivi Apokore, who works in a tourist establishment, the Jais Aben Resort, near Madang: it was as if “everything was like on the surface of the sea, floating”.
The quake was felt as far away as the capital, Port Moresby, approximately 300 miles away. The United States Institute of Geological Surveys (USGS), which had initially issued a tsunami warning, quickly lifted it. The USGS has, however, reported that there may be “minor fluctuations in sea level in some coastal areas”.
Call for caution
Prime Minister James Marape urged the population to remain cautious and take refuge on the heights. He expressed his concern after this ” important “ earthquake, saying that the extent of the human or material damage had not yet been established in the most affected regions. The earthquake occurred at a depth of 61 kilometers, about 67 kilometers from the city of Kainantu, the USGS reported.
Papua New Guinea, which includes the eastern part of the island of New Guinea and many other islands, lies on the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates.
In 2018, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the country’s rugged highlands region, triggering landslides that buried homes and killed at least 125 people. On Saturday, a series of earthquakes hit the Indonesian province of Papua, located on the western part of the island of New Guinea, without causing any casualties or damage. In 2004, a magnitude 9.1 earthquake in Indonesia triggered a tsunami that killed 220,000 people in the region, including about 170,000 in Indonesia.