Quake death toll at 55 as strong aftershock hits Papua New Guinea

Cheryl Sanders
March 7, 2018

The temblor struck at a depth of about 20 miles and was located about 20 miles southwest of the February 26 quake, which killed at least 67 people, according to the Guardian.

"We haven't slept. It's been shaking all through the night", William Bando, provincial administrator of Hela Province, said by telephone from Tari, about 40km from the site of the shocks.

The tremor, shortly after midnight local time, struck just 31 km (19 miles) southwest of the epicenter of last Monday's magnitude 7.5 quake that has left government and aid agencies scrambling to provide emergency supplies to the remote region.

"What we experienced this morning could have caused more damage, but we don't know ... it nearly threw me out of bed".

Aid agencies were struggling to get aid by helicopter to all of the almost 150,000 people who remained in urgent need of emergency supplies. Most of the feeder roads are washed away or covered with landslips.

O'Neill says he was in touch with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, advising him of immediate needs at the affected areas, including lack of electricity.

"Big trucks can not go there".

Papua New Guinea declared a state of emergency across the earthquake-hit region last week but the scale of the disaster will not be known until relief workers and authorities can complete their assessments in the area.

"The logistics are still a massive problem", CARE Australia aid worker Anna Bryan told Reuters.

A Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules with a crew of 10 personnel has made nine flights to affected areas, delivering up to $200,000 worth of Australian humanitarian supplies, including tarpaulins, bed mats and water containers. "People are still being taken to hospitals", he said. But it was a tough task, as remote areas remained hard to reach due to the widespread damage and rough terrain.

Around 140,000 people live in the remote areas of the Highlands region that were most impacted by the natural disaster. He said help from overseas and from local aid agencies was slowly coming in.

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