Death Toll Climbs as Aftershocks Rattle Earthquake-Hit Papua New Guinea

Marsha Scott
March 6, 2018

While earthquakes are a common occurrence in Papua New Guinea, which is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire where most of the world's natural disaster activity occurs, the latest tremors have been particularly catastrophic.

The fatalities of the quake which hit Papua New Guinea's mountainous areas, escalated to over 67, as thousands of homeless people are left without food or running water.

The country's remote highlands were again rocked by strong aftershock, raising the number to three aftershocks, each stronger than magnitude 5.

"Most people have been traumatised emotionally from all that is happening and the continual earthquakes going on, their gardens and even homes have collapsed".

"The challenge is road access, it's still not accessible to trucks and four-wheel-drives", Mr Regmi said. Landslides sparked by the quakes have wrought havoc on the land: food was reportedly becoming scarce in certain areas due to inaccessible roadways, BBC News reported.

Bryan said rivers dammed by landslides created stagnant water polluted by silt and bacteria, leaving people with the threat of disease.

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"A big lake can build-up behind the blockage and under some circumstances when the water reaches the top of the blockage it erodes it away, very quickly releasing a spectacular flood which is obviously a very major hazard for people downstream", geohazards specialist Dave Petley, pro-vice-chancellor at the University of Sheffield, told the ABC's Pacific Beat program.

"One of those appears to be extremely large ..."

Australian and New Zealand defence forces have pitched in to deliver aid, while the China Red Cross and Beijing have pledged financial aid.

Aid workers warned of the need for help in the hard-to-reach region.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the latest temblors.

Oil company Santos said on Sunday that it will donate US$200,000 to aid agencies in PNG for disaster relief on top of a US$1 million donation it has already provided to Hela Provincial Hospital.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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