At least five people died on Sunday in a 7.6 magnitude earthquake in Papua New Guinea. The earthquake damaged buildings, caused landslides and also left many injured.

Residents of several northern cities reported a strong mid-morning tremor that split roads and buildings.

Representative Kessy Sawang said at least two people had died in mountain villages and four were hospitalized in serious condition.

“The damage was extensive,” the deputy told AFP. A landslide buried several houses and “split in two” a city, where many people “lost their homes”.

In addition, three miners died buried. Communications in the area are poor and paved roads are scarce, so it is difficult at this time to establish a balance of damage.

Small airlines and mission groups were involved in rescue efforts to transport some wounded. “It’s very difficult because of the terrain and the weather. It’s a big challenge”, said Nelli Pumai, from Manolos Aviation.

The earthquake had its epicenter 67 km from the city of Kainantu and at a depth of 61 km, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said. The quake was felt in the capital, Port Moresby, 480 km away.

Residents of Lae and Madang, near the epicenter, told AFP that this time the tremors were more noticeable than in previous quakes.

“Very strong,” said Hivi Apokore, a worker at the Jais Aben Resort near the coastal city of Madang.

Prime Minister James Marape recommended that the population take refuge in highlands, but said the damage should be less than in 2018, when at least 126 people died.

Papua New Guinea is on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, an area prone to earthquakes.

Categorized in: