Updated: 3/9/2018 4:08:36 AM
Yesterday, 18 people were killed by a magnitude 6.7 quake which struck Papua New Guinea.
The quake and aftershocks have collapsed the slopes of Mt Sisa, an extinct volcano south-west of Tari, burying villages and sending residents fleeing to a nearby ridge.
The towering, forested faces of Mt Sisa are now crumbling slopes of silt that are preventing people from fleeing the district.
People are relying on food and water dropped by helicopter and plane, but they said they needed more, and still lacked shelter.
There are other villages across the quake zone with access roads blocked, and the Hela provincial Government said it had not been able to get to all the communities affected by the quake.
Updated: 3/4/2018 7:17:12 AM
The governor of Hela province, Philip Undialu, told local media the damage was "extensive".
"Our police station, courthouse, hospital... even private houses have been ripped apart or sunk into the ground," Mr Undialu said from the country's capital, Port Moresby.
A number of urban settlements, as well as villages, have been affected, many in the form of landslides and landslips, which means that roads have been cut off, water contaminated and power knocked out.
"This was the biggest earthquake in 100 years and it spread 150km across the fault line," he said.
Updated: 2/27/2018 12:36:13 AM
Government Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari said the Defence Force had been mobilised to help deliver assistance to those affected and to restore services and infrastructure damaged by the quake, which caused massive landslides and sinkholes.
Airports and hospitals were among the infrastructure and buildings believed to have been damaged.
At least 13 people were believed to have been killed in Mendi, the capital of Southern Highlands, and 18 others died in the Kutubu and Bosave areas, PNG's Post Courier newspaper reported, citing Hela provincial administrator William Bando. More than 300 people were reportedly injured.
Updated: 2/26/2018 5:33:32 AM
Although communication networks into the two provinces have been cut off, reports through satellite communication by Hela Provincial Administrator William Bando reveal that about 10 people have been killed while thousands of properties have been destroyed. Mr Bando said it is a very severe disaster as many lives have reportedly been lost and Komo Airport is believed to be damaged as half of the airfield has been destroyed.
According to new information received, the quakes have resulted in homes and properties being buried as the ground opened up and sank. Reports are yet to be confirmed but the situation looks severe. Furthermore, schools in both provinces and in other provinces along the fault line have suspended classes indefinitely.
The reports are coming that the earthquake was very huge, and there was casualties. There were massive landslides blocking the roads and rivers. The damage is very significant.
Updated: 2/26/2018 5:24:20 AM
“The National Disaster Centre is working with provincial authorities to assess any damage and impacts on service delivery in the area. The Papua New Guinea Defence Force has also been mobilized to assist with the assessment and the delivery of assistance to affected people as well as the restoration of services and infrastructure,” Chief Secretary to Government Isaac Lupari said.
According to the USGS’s assessment, “significant casualties and damage are likely and the disaster is potentially widespread.”
It estimated that the quake could have been felt by more than a million residents, with approximately 40,000 exposed to “violent” shaking.
Published Monday, February 26, 2018
Poverful M7.6 earthquake hit the Papua New Guinea yesterday at a relatively shallow depth of 35 kilometres, about 89 kilometers southwest of Porgera.
The epicentre was about 96 kilometres south-west of Mendi, the capital of Southern Highlands province, a town of more than 50,000 people.
Chief Secretary to Government Ambassador Isaac Lupari said in a statement that disaster assessment teams had been sent to parts of the Southern Highlands Province and Hela Province.
"The National Disaster Centre is working with provincial authorities to assess any damage and impacts on service delivery in the area," his statement said.
The area where the earthquake struck is home to a number of oil and gas operations as well as coffee plantations.
ExxonMobil Corp has shut its Hides gas conditioning plant as a precaution to assess any damages to its facilities.
Chris McKee, acting director of geohazards management for the Papua New Guinea Government, said tens of thousands of people lived in the forested highlands region.
Tens on aftershocks, all with an average magnitude of five and more, hit the island in the aftermath of the initial hit.
Papua New Guinea earthquake Facts
Affected Area: 150 km.
Alert Level: Red