Over 30 reported dead after 7.5-magnitude earthquake hit PNG

Updated 2018-02-27 14:09:02 Xinhua

Over 30 people are thought to have died Tuesday, following Monday's massive 7.5-magnitude earthquake that struck 96 km south-west of Mendi, in the Southern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea.

Although full details are still unclear, local newspaper PNG Post Courier reported that 13 people were killed in the city of Mendi, while 18 more lost their lives in the nearby areas of Kutubu and Bosave.

News sources also said that around 300 people were injured during the 35 km deep tremor.

"The scale of damage, from information we are getting from the ground, is quite extensive," Hela governor Philip Undialu told local media.

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

Making matters worse for the 50,000 residents in and around Mendi, phone lines and communications appeared to be down, with numerous sinkholes and aftershocks still continuing to rock the area.

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

One local website Papua New Guinea Today, has even posted that at least 10 people, including four children, were killed in "quake-triggered landslides."

"We could feel the house and the earth shaking," resident Agnes Kep told local media.

"We wanted to run for the door and out of the house, but it was too late, the ground might open up and swallow us."

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