Tuesday 11 December 2018

Papua New Guinea earthquake: Powerful 6.5 tremor strikes country's highlands

Damage to a road in Papua New Guinea after a 7.5 quake in February (Getty)
Damage to a road in Papua New Guinea after a 7.5 quake in February (Getty)

Tom Embury-Dennis

A powerful 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck the remote highlands of Papua New Guinea, the European Earthquake Monitoring Service said.

The very shallow tremor was only 1.2 miles deep and 58 miles southwest of Porgera in the Enga province, it said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

It comes after a 7.5 magnitude quake in the same highlands region in February claimed the lives of more than 150 people.

On Thursday, the United Nations (UN) was forced to suspend relief efforts in areas worst hit by the disaster after it said violence and instability made it unsafe for its workers.

Around 270,000 people - 125,000 of them children - still need emergency aid, according to the UN.

Earthquakes are common in Papua New Guinea, which sits on the Pacific's "Ring of Fire", a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates.

Its mountainous terrain means it often takes aid agencies and government officials days before they can gather information on damage and casualties.

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