Five People died, 1,000 Homes destroyed in Papua New Guinea earthquake

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PORT MORESBY,Papua New Guinea/AFP/ – A devastating earthquake of 6.9 magnitude struck the already flood-ravaged northern region of Papua New Guinea, leading to the death of at least five individuals and the destruction of approximately 1,000 homes, according to officials on Monday. East Sepik Governor, Allan Bird, reported that around 1,000 homes have been obliterated so far, with emergency teams still evaluating the extent of the damage caused by the tremor that affected most parts of the province. The quake hit early Sunday morning, exacerbating the situation for dozens of villages along the Sepik River, which were already grappling with severe flooding. Provincial Police Commander, Christopher Tamari, informed AFP that while five deaths have been confirmed, the death toll could potentially rise. Post-quake images reveal the extent of the damage, with wooden houses seen collapsing into the surrounding floodwaters that are knee-deep.

Situated on the seismic ‘Ring of Fire,’ Papua New Guinea is no stranger to regular earthquakes. This region, known for its intense tectonic activity, stretches across Southeast Asia and the Pacific basin. Although these earthquakes usually don’t cause widespread damage in the thinly populated jungle highlands, they frequently trigger dangerous landslides. The majority of the island’s nine million residents live in rural areas, far from large cities, making search-and-rescue missions particularly challenging due to the rough landscape and insufficient road networks.