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.
Papua New Guinea Red Cross is checking on relief stocks stored near the epicentre of today’s 7.5M #earthquake and are ready to help, as in previous disasters like this one. #PNG pic.twitter.com/jRB0NP5eOE
— IFRC Asia Pacific (@IFRCAsiaPacific) February 26, 2018
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.