Series Of Strong PNG Earthquakes Unnerve New Britain Residents

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7.4 quake, small tsunami follows two strong temblors last week

By Grace Tiden

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 6, 2015) – Panic-stricken residents scrambled out of work places, shops, schools and homes yesterday as another violent earthquake shook East New Britain Province.

The tremor, measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale according to the US Geological Survey, was the latest of a series of earthquakes that had rocked the eastern part of the New Britain Island in recent weeks. It said there was a magnitude 6.7 earthquake last Thursday night and a magnitude 6.8 tremor the following night.

Authorities had not commented officially on the destruction caused yesterday however, damages were reported in some areas.

Many shops, schools and offices closed and parents had to rush to schools to pick up their children.

Food items and goods fell off shelves as shoppers and shop assistants rushed for the exits, prompting some major supermarkets to close for the day.

Some workers in town had to get home to check on their homes with some reporting water tanks being damaged.

Cracks on the walls, floors and the ceilings of some buildings were reported. Vehicles had to stop on the road due to the shaking.

Power supply was disrupted throughout the day.

Landslips occurred in parts of the province, blocking roads and affecting traffic.

People living near the coast had to move to higher grounds due to a tsunami alert which was later called off. Reports were received of damages to homes in communities near the epicentre in Pomio district.

Damien Tandrea at Palmalmal station said they were hit hard and homes were destroyed, especially in the Central Inland Pomio area due to the recent earthquake.

The earthquake struck at a depth of about 40km, about 140km south of Kokopo town, according to the US Geological Survey.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said yesterday he had been briefed by East New Britain Governor Ereman ToBaining, who advised that there were no reports of damage in the area and the provincial disaster office was monitoring the situation. Emergency agencies have been placed on alert, he said.

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