67 Killed In Papua New Guinea Earthquake Aftershocks

| March 5 , 2018 , 14:12 IST

The 7.5 magnitude earthquake that hit Papua New Guinea on February 26 continues to devastate the Pacific nation, with the total death toll of the earthquake and its aftershocks reaching 67 on Monday. The aftershocks include two 6.0 magnitude tremors that took place on Monday as well. 

Apart from the death toll, around 1.43 lakh people have been affected by the earthquake and 17,000 people have been displaced due to partial or full destruction of their homes, reported AFP quoting Red Cross figures. The earthquake, that hit the remote highland areas of Papua New Guinea, also left thousands without food and clean water.

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Recovery process has been slow due to blocked roads and power outages, creating difficulties for aid workers to reach cut-off villages. The damaged roads also made delivery of food, water and sanitation to local communities more difficult.

Peter Botten, the Managing Director of Oil Search surveyed the damage and said that the impact "has been enormous, with many deaths in the region as well as the destruction of houses, schools, roads and bridges".

Australian and New Zealand defence forces have pitched in to deliver aid, while the China Red Cross and Beijing have pledged financial aid.

The earthquake damaged the impoverished nation's biggest-ever development project as well, the PNG LNG project operated by US energy giant ExxonMobil, setting it back by up to 8 weeks as the facilities damaged by the quake would undergo repairs.

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill last week termed the shutdown of the gas plant as having a "huge impact" on the economy, which is heavily dependent on its natural resources.