More deaths reported in PNG 7.6 quake

A landslide cutting of the tambul mendi road following a 7.5 earthquake. Photo: Andrew Solomon

Provincial authorities say more than 30 people are believed to have been killed in Papua New Guinea’s Southern Highlands after a 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck yesterday morning.

The Post Courier newspaper reported Hela Provincial Administrator William Bando saying at least 13 people have been killed in Southern Highlands capital Mendi and 18 others are believed to have been killed in Kutubu and Bosave.

Authorities also said more than 300 people were injured and many and properties were destroyed during the quake.

Earlier, Catholic priest Father Pius Hal told the Papua New Guinea Today website two children of a local government leader were among five killed by quake-triggered landslips in Mendi town.

Two others were children of a senior Southern Highlands public servant.

In the Western Province, mining infrastructure belonging to Ok Tedi has also been damaged.

Roads are cut off and pictures show massive landslides along roadsides and rivers.

PNG Resource Governance Coalition spokesperson Martyn Namorong said the damage to pipes carrying copper concentrate and mining waste has raised serious concerns about toxic spills and about the gas pipeline that ran from the highlands to Port Moresby.

Portion of the new Mendi - Kandep road has been destroyed following the 7.5 earthquake.

Portion of the new Mendi – Kandep road has been destroyed following the 7.5 earthquake. Photo: Andrew Solomon /radionz