Up to 14 people were killed in landslides and by collapsed buildings during a powerful earthquake in the remote Papua New Guinea highlands, police and a hospital worker said this morning, with unconfirmed reports of up to 30 people killed.
The 7.5 magnitude quake that rocked the region early on Monday also damaged mining and power infrastructure and led ExxonMobil Corp to shut its $19 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant, the country’s biggest export earner.
Two building collapses and a landslide killed 12 people in Mendi, the provincial capital of the Southern Highlands, said Julie Sakol, a nurse at Mendi General Hospital, where their bodies were brought to the morgue.
“People are afraid. The shaking is still continuing. There’s nowhere to go but people are just moving around,” she said.
Dozens of aftershocks rattled the area, including a 5.7 quake, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.
Police in Mendi said 14 people were killed in the initial quake, including three in Poroma, south of Mendi.
“They were killed by landslides destroying families sleeping in their houses,” said Naring Bongi, a police officer in Mendi.