Published: Tue, March 06, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Papua New Guinea quake death toll reaches 67 as aftershocks hit

Papua New Guinea quake death toll reaches 67 as aftershocks hit

There have been three aftershocks greater than 5.0 magnitude since the original quake, Reuters reported.

Anna Bryan, program director for CARE International in PNG, said the impact of the natural disaster could not be understood by the initial death toll of 31 people as tens of thousands of people uninjured by the actual quake have been cut off from food, drinking water, communications and medical help for a week. "They actually want to know when it will stop".

The toll on Monday stood at 55 killed, said James Justin, a research officer at the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy in Port Moresby, as news of more deaths arrived in the capital by shortwave radio. An estimated 500 more were injured.

A week after the quake, the rescue effort is still a logistical challenge because of the remoteness of the regions affected, but CARE International's Papua New Guinea programme director Anna Bryan said aid agencies hoped to fly in relief supplies soon.

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A report by the World Food Program for the United Nations two days after the quake estimated 465,000 people were exposed to the disaster of which 143,000 needed urgent humanitarian assistance and 64,000 were suffering from extreme food insecurity.

"Around 143,000 people are affected and 17,000 people have been generally displaced because their homes are either fully or partially damaged and not in a condition to lie in", said Regmi. Landslides sparked by the quakes have wrought havoc on the land: food was reportedly becoming scarce in certain areas due to inaccessible roadways, BBC News reported.

Resources companies operating in the region have also pledged million of dollars in aid. "But we know that tens of thousands of people are reported as requiring humanitarian assistance".

Exxon is the operator and largest shareholder of the project that includes a 700-km (435-mile) gas pipeline that connects gas reserves in PNG's jungle Southern Highlands to a coastal liquefaction plant.

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