Papua New Guinea Reels from Powerful Tremor

The 7.5-magnitude quake damaged rural villages. REUTERS

The 7.5 magnitude quake on February 26 triggered landslides and flattened buildings, killing at least 31 people, and has affected the regional LNG market.

Earthquakes are common in Papua New Guinea, which sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a hotspot for seismic activity.

"This crisis is far from over for people in PNG with significant damage to homes, crops, water supplies, telecommunications and other infrastructure", he added.

The fatalities of the natural disaster which hit Papua New Guinea's mountainous areas, escalated to over 67, as thousands of homeless people are left without food or running water.

"Many communities are without basic necessities, such as food, clean water, shelter and medical support".

Two magnitude-6 tremors hit inland areas early on Monday.

The government on Thursday announced Dr William Hamlin as the emergency controller, together with K100 million for immediate release for emergency operations and a further K200 million for long-term restoration purposes. Relief workers have been unable to get bigger trucks carrying food through to some areas because of damage to roads by landslides.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has declared a state of emergency.

Energy firm ExxonMobil which had to declare force majeure on exports from its PNG LNG project in the wake of the quake has also donated US$1 million to the humanitarian effort.

Australian and New Zealand defense forces have begun delivering aid and the China Red Cross and Beijing have pledged financial assistance.

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