Published: Wed, March 07, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Relief supply delays add stress in quake-ravaged PNG Highlands

Relief supply delays add stress in quake-ravaged PNG Highlands

The tremor, shortly after midnight local time, struck just 31 km (19 miles) southwest of the epicentre of last Monday's magnitude 7.5 quake that has left government and aid agencies scrambling to provide emergency supplies to the remote region. He said death reports were still coming in from remote places, and he feared the death toll would rise to over 100.

Papua New Guinea is home to 7 million people on the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, to the east of Indonesia. "We haven't heard about potential casualties there yet, but it is a big village with many people".

"From the United Nations in Papua New Guinea, we would like to extend our sympathies to those affected and to those who have lost their loved ones", said UN Resident Coordinator, Gianluca Rampolla.

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"People are still being extracted from mud".

He said provincial authorities were trying to prioritise the greatest needs by getting people with severe injuries to medical centres and providing water and medicine.

Early Monday morning, a 7.5-magnitude quake tore through a largely rural region of Papua New Guinea, about 50 miles south of Porgera.

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The first casualty assessment comes as authorities and aid workers struggle to reach the rugged highlands area to assess the extent of the damage of the first quake on Feb 26 and deliver aid to stricken locals.

The International Red Cross warned the situation could deteriorate if heavy rains hit the region. "A big downpour could bring landslides in hillsides already destabilised by the quake, cause floods and contaminate water", said Udaya Regmi, Director the International Red Cross in Papua New Guinea.

"Compounding the fallout was an announcement on Monday that the impoverished country's biggest-ever development €" the PNG LNG project operated by USA energy giant ExxonMobil €" will be offline for up to eight weeks as the quake-hit facilities undergo repairs. All employees and contractors were safe.

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Tillerson made the announcement at a speech in Virginia before departing for a week-long trip to several African countries. Djibouti is the site of the only US base in Africa. "During his trip, he will also meet with U.S.


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