April 25, 2018

Week after PNG quake, almost 150000 in urgent need of aid

07 March 2018, 07:33 | Marta Robbins

Week after PNG quake, nearly 150000 in urgent need of aid

Earthquake death toll expected to rise

UNICEF is working to respond to the needs of those affected by three huge earthquakes, measuring 7.5, 6.0 and 6.0 on the Richter Scale, and almost 100 aftershocks, which sent four provinces in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea into a state of emergency last week.

A supplied image shows locals inspecting a landslide and damage to a road located near the township of Tabubil after an natural disaster that struck Papua New Guinea's Southern Highlands, February 26, 2018. "Ensuring those affected are safe and healthy with access to clean water, food and safe spaces is the number one priority".

Two magnitude-6 tremors hit inland areas early on Monday.

Compounding the fallout was an announcement on Monday that the impoverished country's biggest development - the liquefied natural gas project operated by United States energy giant ExxonMobil - would be offline for up to eight weeks as the quake-hit facilities are repaired.

"About 143,000 people are affected and 17,000 people have been generally displaced because their homes are either fully or partially damaged and in no condition to live in".

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Apart from the death toll, around 1.43 lakh people have been affected by the quake and 17,000 people have been displaced due to partial or full destruction of their homes, reported AFP quoting Red Cross figures.

Australia, New Zealand and the Red Cross have all pledged aid to help the recovery process.

The UN has initially mobilised Dollars 1.4 million (4.6 million kina) to support relief efforts, having already dispatched immediate relief supplies to the natural disaster affected areas such as tarpaulins, water containers, emergency medical items including, medical kits, vaccines and malnutrition treatment supplies.

ExxonMobil Papua New Guinea managing director Andrew Barry said production at the $19bn project would be restored as quickly as possible.

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