67 killed in PNG quake

Papua New Guinea declared a state of emergency across the earthquake-hit region last week but the scale of the disaster will not be known until relief workers and authorities can complete their assessments in the area.

The earthquakes come one week after Papua New Guinea experienced a large, magnitude 7.5 quake in a similar location, killing at least 31 people, and leaving tens of thousands without access to food, water and medical help, according to aid organizations.

At least three aftershocks greater than magnitude 5 struck the Southern Highlands region in the morning, including the magnitude 6.0 quake, about 600 km northwest of capital Port Moresby. Severe damage after Monday's powerful 7.5 magnitude natural disaster in Papua New Guinea is hindering efforts to assess the destruction, although officials fear dozens of people may have been injured or killed.

Aid agencies have said almost 150,000 people remain in urgent need of emergency supplies.

"Most people have been traumatised emotionally from all that is happening and the continual earthquakes going on, their gardens and even homes have collapsed".

More news: Lionel Messi never fails to surprise us, says Barcelona coach

Relief efforts are slowly being expanded, with millions of dollars in aid pledged by the government, ExxonMobil and the Australian energy producers, Oil Search and Santos, which are involved in the gas project.

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.

"The challenge is road access, it's still not accessible to trucks and four-wheel-drives", Mr Regmi said.

"Public health and public hygiene are now concerns", Anna Bryan, program director for CARE International in PNG, said.

ExxonMobil Papua New Guinea managing director Andrew Barry said production at the $19bn project would be restored as quickly as possible.

  • Adam Floyd