Four Dead, 40 Missing After Quakes Rattle Papua New Guinea
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (AP) _ Mudslides triggered by earthquakes measuring up to 7.0 on the Richter scale tore through villages and killed at least four people, officials said today. More than 40 people were missing and feared dead.
Police continued to search for missing villagers after the quake and two powerful aftershocks shook the northern provinces Wednesday afternoon.
The deputy director of the National Disaster and Emergency Services, Col. Eric Ani, said four villagers were buried by mudslides and killed in Morobe province.
More than 40 people were missing when mudslides coursed through the village of Maroboi and buried it, he said.
At least 600 people in surrounding villages had their homes destroyed, Ani said.
The first quake struck at midday Wednesday between Madang on the north coast and Goroka, 50 miles inland, the emergency services office said.
The quake was felt in the capital, Port Moresby, 310 miles away.
″I was in my seventh-floor office,″ said Ruben San Mateo, a resident of the capital. ″For a time, a long period, it was to-and-fro movement. I felt the building was moving three or four inches. It probably lasted 10 or 15 seconds.″
It was followed by two strong aftershocks at 1:07 p.m. and 3:53 p.m. with magnitudes of 6.5 and 6.0.
Communications are always poor in the thick jungle and mountainous area. With power disrupted, verifying the extent of damage and casualties may take days.