Port Moresby: At least five people were killed and several households were damaged after a massive earthquake hit Papua New Guinea (PNG) early on Sunday morning, according to media reports.
The 7.6 magnitude earthquake damaged buildings, triggered landslides and killed five people Al Jazeera reported.
According to the media report, a local member of parliament, 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, Koranga Alluvial Mining said three miners were buried alive.
“There has been widespread damage,” said Kessy Sawang, adding a landslide had buried homes and “split” one village where people “lost their houses”.
The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, James Marape, said that the earthquake was “massive” and told people to be cautious, but said he expected the damage to be less than that from a 2018 earthquake and series of aftershocks, which killed an estimated 150 people.
However, the scale of the damage and number of casualties from Sunday’s earthquake was still unclear.
James Marape said that the national and provincial disaster agencies, as well as leaders, had been asked to assess the scale of damage and injuries to people.
As per the United States Geological Survey, the 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck the Kainantu town in the eastern New Guinea region of the country at 23:46:55 GMT on Sunday.
The tremor was recorded 67 km East of Kainantu, Papua New Guinea. The epicentre of the quake was located at a depth of 61.4 km. The latitude of the quake was 6.224°S while the Longitude was 146.471°E.
The United Nations (UN) 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.
Papua New Guinea lies in the “Ring of Fire”, an area in the basin of the Pacific Ocean, which is vulnerable to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.There have been 22 M7.5 earthquakes recorded in the New Guinea region since 1900. The largest earthquake in the region was an M8.2 shallow thrust fault event in the northern Papua province of Indonesia that killed 166 people in 1996.