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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 September 2018

More than 30 people believed dead in Papua New Guinea earthquake 

Some 300 people were injured and details of 'extensive damage' have emerged 

A house sits collapsed following a 7.5 earthquake struck Papua New Guinea. Jerol Wepii / AP
A house sits collapsed following a 7.5 earthquake struck Papua New Guinea. Jerol Wepii / AP

More than 30 people are believed to have died after a powerful earthquake struck Papua New Guinea's mountainous interior, a report said on Tuesday as details of "extensive" damage began to emerge.

The 7.5-magnitude tremor struck 90 kilometres south of Porgera in the Pacific nation's Enga province early Monday, with two strong aftershocks rattling the rugged region.

Phone lines were largely cut, but the PNG Post Courier newspaper cited Hela provincial administrator William Bando as saying there were casualties.

It reported that at least 13 died in the Southern Highlands capital Mendi while 18 others were believed to have been killed in nearby Kutubu and Bosave.

Some 300 people were injured, it added, and properties damaged, with reports of landslides and sinkholes.

The Papua New Guinea Today website, quoting Catholic priest Pius Hal, said at least 10 died, including four children, in quake-triggered landslides.

A government assessment team was due to fly into the area on Tuesday to get a better idea of the impact, with the military mobilised to help restore services and infrastructure, the government's Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari said in a statement.

"Information will be provided as this is made available from assessment teams in the area," he added.

"The scale of damage, from information we are getting from the ground, is quite extensive," said Hela governor Philip Undialu, adding that there were around 19 landslides between Mendi and the town of Mount Hagen.

"Our police station, courthouse, hospital ... even private houses have been ripped apart or sunk into the ground.

"It's going to be a massive recovery exercise."

The tremor hit at a depth of 35 kilometres around 3:45 am (1745 GMT Sunday), US seismologists said, with aftershocks of 6.0 and 6.3 magnitude recorded.

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Read more:

Powerful quake hits central Papua New Guinea, disrupts oil and gas operations

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