ON the morning of 26 February, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the highlands of Papua New Guinea. The epicenter, according to seismology reports, was located close to the multibillion dollar Exon Mobil LNG site in Papua New Guinea’s Hela Province.
Villages closest to the epicenter, were the worst hit.
In Timu, a village near the LNG gas pipeline route, the earthquake triggered a landslide that buried eleven people. Under several metres of the debris, villagers found the bodies of a mother, her baby and an older boy.
In Hela Province, the task of counting the dead is being done by a medical team of three led by Dr. Tana Kiak. On the third day after the quake, Dr. Kiak began travelling out to the different locations to identify and certify the deaths.
“We should have been out there on the first day after the quake happened,” he says. “We should have had choppers available for assessment and medical teams. But I am glad that we are doing it now.”
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