Second Earthquake Kills at Least 18 in Papua New Guinea

Clay Curtis
March 9, 2018

The US Geological Survey said Wednesday's quake was centred 112km (70 miles) southwest of Porgera at a shallow depth of 10km (6 miles).

The central region where the quake struck is remote and undeveloped, and assessments about the scale of the damage and injuries have been slow to filter out.

A Church Partnership Program has brought together members of the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea, the Baptist Union of Papua New Guinea, the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church, Salvation Army, Seventh Day Adventist and the United Church in Papua New Guinea.

The latest large was a magnitude 6.7 quake that struck just after midnight local time, the strongest shake since last Monday's deadly magnitude 7.5 quake that destroyed homes, triggered landslides and halted work at four oil and gas fields.

"At least 18 people were killed in Como district and two were killed in another district in the overnight natural disaster", William Bando, Hela Province administrator, told German Press Agency (DPA) on Wednesday.

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Santos has been operating in PNG alongside our community partners since the 1980s and has exploration and production interests in the Western, Hela, Southern Highlands and Gulf Provinces.

The region had already been badly damaged on February 26, when the largest quake to hit the seismically-active highlands in almost a century flattened buildings, triggered landslides, and closed oil and gas operations. Even my own children are refusing to sleep in our house.

The quake has been felt on global natural gas markets, with ExxonMobil Corp declaring force majeure on exports from Papua New Guinea, according to an industry source, pushing Asian spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices 5 percent higher. "People of the highlands are not used to the impact of natural disasters, and this Magnitude 7.5 quake has taken everyone by surprise".

Australia, New Zealand and the Red Cross have all pledged aid, though reaching the remote area has proven challenging as forbidding terrain, bad weather, as well as damaged roads and runways have delayed aid efforts. "So that's making it quite hard to get water, food and medicine to the remote areas", Milton Kwaipo, an officer for aid charity Caritas Australia, told Reuters.

They are also attempting to deliver supplies to the more than 150,000 people that agencies estimate are in need of aid. There are big cracks along the roads and even roads completely cut off.

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