Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Magnitude 6.0 quake strikes PNG

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen Cambodian PM slams effigy burning in Aust
Patty Aguilar | 05 March, 2018, 06:33

The magnitude 6.0 natural disaster is the latest in a series of powerful aftershocks that have plagued the Highlands region since the massive 7.5 struck last Monday.

The tremor has followed on from a series of large aftershocks which have ravaged the Southern Highlands region after a powerful 7.5-magnitude quake hit the area on February 25.

Compounding the fallout was an announcement Monday that the impoverished country's biggest-ever development - the PNG LNG project operated by U.S. energy giant ExxonMobil - will be offline for up to eight weeks as the quake-hit facilities undergo repairs.

"We haven't slept. It's been shaking all through the night", said provincial administrator of Hela Province William Bando, who was 40 km away from the epicenter.

According to the Red Cross, although the area has no major urban centers, around 670,000 people live within 100 km of the epicenter.

Whole villages have been flattened and water sources spoiled in the quake which killed at least 20 people in the remote and mountainous Southern Highlands last Monday.

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Thousands are thought to be trapped in isolated areas after landslides blocked roads to the worst-affected communities, making it all but impossible to deliver urgently needed supplies including food, water and healthcare.

ASX-listed energy explorers and producers Oil Search and Santos between them own 42.5 per cent of the ExxonMobil-led PNG LNG Project.

Managing director Peter Botten said the company was lucky none of its staff were seriously injured.

"Many communities are without basic necessities, such as food, clean water, shelter and medical support".

Papua New Guinea is located in a seismically active zone known as the Ring of Fire and regularly suffer from powerful earthquakes.

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