Two people were killed in remote mountain villages, and four of them were airlifted to hospital. (representative)
At least five people were killed and several homes damaged after a massive earthquake hit Papua New Guinea early Sunday morning, according to media reports.
Al Jazeera reported that the 7.6-magnitude earthquake destroyed buildings and caused landslides, killing five people.
According to a media report, a local parliament member, Casey Swang, said that at least two people were killed in remote mountain villages, and four others were airlifted to hospital in critical condition. In nearby Wau, the Kuranga placer-mining company said three miners were buried alive.
“Extensive damage was done,” Casey Sawang said, adding that the landslide had buried homes and “divided up” one village as people “lost their homes.”
Papua New Guinea’s prime minister, James Marab, said the quake was “tremendous” and asked people to be vigilant, but said he expected the damage to be less than the 2018 earthquake and the series of aftershocks that killed an estimated 150 people.
However, the extent of the damage and the number of casualties from Sunday’s earthquake remains unclear.
James Marab said national and regional disaster agencies, as well as leaders, have been asked to assess the scale of damage and injuries to people.
According to the US Geological Survey, a 7.6-magnitude earthquake hit the town of Kinantou in the eastern New Guinea region of the country at 23:46:55 GMT on Sunday.
The earthquake was recorded 67 kilometers east of Kainanto, Papua New Guinea. The epicenter was located at a depth of 61.4 km. The latitude of the earthquake was 6.224 degrees south while the longitude was 146.471 degrees east.
The UN report said people were injured by fallen buildings or debris, and some health centers, homes, country roads and highways were damaged.
Power infrastructure in the affected areas was damaged, causing blackouts across the eastern highlands.
Papua New Guinea is located in the “Ring of Fire”, an area of the Pacific Basin, prone to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and 22 M7.5 earthquakes have been recorded in the New Guinea region since 1900. The largest earthquake in the region was a shallow thrust fault event M8.2 in North Papua Province, Indonesia, killing 166 people in 1996.
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