PNG quake kills eight, injures 17 and damages 800 homes

Photo: Australian Red Cross

At least eight people are dead, 17 recovering in hospital with injuries and 800 houses destroyed in Papua New Guinea by the 7.0-magnitude earthquake which hit East Sepik a week ago, according to Governor Allan Bird.

It is understood that the earthquake affected almost all the six districts in the province.

According to Bird, eight people lost their lives in the first few hours of the earthquake last Monday, due to their houses collapsing on them.

“The quake happened very early in the morning while everyone was asleep,” he said.

“Seventeen people were (medically evacuated) to hospital and are recovering.

“More than 800 houses have been destroyed. We expect this number to be higher. Most of the destruction occurred in Angoram around the Blekwara (black water) area in Gawi (Wosera Gawi) and Ambunti (Ambunti Dreikikier).

“We believe that the initial danger has passed and we hope there are no more quakes in the immediate future.

“Our priority is to help our people rebuild their lives. So the most pressing needs are temporary shelter, tools for rebuilding, cooking utensils, water containers, clothing, bedding, personal hygiene items for women and girls, fishing nets and other livelihood items.”

The provincial government thanked Frieda Mining and Samaritan Aviation for helping to move people in the affected areas and for evacuating those needing medical attention.

“In addition to the Samaritan Aviation plane, a helicopter was supplied by Frieda Mine. Many dinghies and trucks were also used to conduct the assessment,” he said.

“We will finalise offers of help from the Australian, US and French governments, along with the Red Cross.” He said members of the PNG Defence Force would also be assisting from this week.