Tsunami Warning After Powerful Earthquake Hits Papua New Guinea

Sunday, September 11, 2022 | Tag Cloud Tags: , ,

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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent

PORT MORESBY (Worthy News) – A warning was issued Sunday after a 7.6 magnitude in eastern Papua New Guinea killed at least five people prompting missionaries to rescue injured survivors, authorities said.

Prime Minister James Marape warned his Oceanian nation that the earthquake was “massive” and told people to be cautious.

But he offered some hope saying he expected the damage to be less than that from a 2018 earthquake and series of aftershocks, which killed an estimated 150 people.

Christian missionary groups and small aviation companies were involved in airlifting some of the injured across the rugged jungle landscape.

“It’s very difficult, the terrain, the weather. It’s challenging,” said Nellie Pumai of Manolos Aviation, which had transported one person out and was trying to return.

The latest earthquake in the Oceanian nation was recorded by the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC).

DEEP QUAKE

The quake struck at a depth of 80 kilometers (49.7 miles), EMSC said. The U.S. tsunami warning system has issued a warning, Worthy News learned.

It happened near Kainantu, a town with a population of roughly 8,500 people, the United States Geological Survey reported.

Residents reportedly felt the quake even some 500 km (310 miles) away in the capital of Port Moresby.

The full extent of the damage was not immediately apparent as the location of the earthquake was remote.

Earthquakes are common in Papua New Guinea, which sits on the Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire,” a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates.

Local legislator Kessy Sawang said at least two people were killed in remote mountain villages, with four others airlifted to hospital in critical condition. In nearby Wau, the Koranga Alluvial Mining company said three miners were buried alive.

SEVERAL KILLED

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Asia and the Pacific initially said that at least 4 deaths and four injuries had been reported. One person died in a landslide in Rai Coast, Madang, with three others buried in Wau, Morobe, the OCHA’s local disaster management team said in a report posted on social media.

The regional power grid, internet cables, and the regional highway were damaged, but the airport is operational, it said. Papua New Guinea residents shared images and videos on social media of cracked roads, damaged buildings and cars, and items falling off supermarket shelves.

The U.N. report said people had been injured by falling structures or debris, and there was damage to some health centres, homes, rural roads, and highways.

Power infrastructure was damaged in affected areas, causing an outage across the Eastern Highlands. State-backed communications provider PNG DataCo also reported an impact on its undersea cable network, resulting in widespread disruptions.

Residents near the epicenter said the shaking was much more vigorous than in previous quakes. “Very strong, everything was like sitting on a sea – just floating,” said Hivi Apokore, a worker at the Jais Aben Resort near Madang.

People remain on alert since, in neighbouring Indonesia in 2004, a 9.1 magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami that killed 220,000 throughout the region.

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