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Monday, 25 March 2024 16:01

Five dead, 1,000 homes destroyed in PNG earthquake

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Locals on a makeshift bridge in the flooded Angriman Village in Angoram District, East Sepik, Papua New Guinea, Monday (25/3/2024). (Photo: AFP/Papua New Guinea Police)

VOInews, Port Moresby: At least five people were killed and an estimated 1,000 homes destroyed when a magnitude 6.9 earthquake rocked flood-stricken northern Papua New Guinea, Governor of East Sepik, Allan Bird said on Monday (25/3/2024) as disaster crews poured into the region. Governor Bird added that emergency crews were "still assessing the impact" from a tremor that "damaged most parts of the province".

"So far, around 1,000 homes have been lost," said Bird as reported by AFP.

 

Dozens of villages nestled on the banks of the country's Sepik River were already dealing with major flooding when the quake struck early Sunday morning. Provincial police commander Christopher Tamari told AFP that authorities had recorded five deaths but the number of fatalities "could be more". Photos taken in the aftermath of the quake showed damaged wooden houses collapsing into the surrounding knee-high floodwaters.

 

Earthquakes are common in Papua New Guinea, which sits on top of the seismic "Ring of Fire". It is an arc of intense tectonic activity that stretches through Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, and across the Pacific basin.

 

Although they seldom cause widespread damage in the sparsely populated jungle highlands, they can trigger destructive landslides. Many of the island nation's nine million citizens live outside major towns and cities, where the difficult terrain and lack of sealed roads can seriously hamstring search-and-rescue efforts.

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