7.5 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea was hit by a 7.5-magnitude earthquake on Monday, the strongest earthquake to ever hit the Pacific nation. The quake, which struck about 55 miles south of Porgera, triggered landslides that knocked out power lines and damaged roads across the Pacific island. Thus far, at least 20 people have died, according to CNN.
Scores of aftershocks, including a 6.0 earthquake on Tuesday, have hampered rescue efforts over the past two days. The government has sent out disaster management teams including defense personnel to those affected areas.
"There are communities that have suffered from this natural disaster, and we are sending our soldiers and other Government agencies to support our people in their time of need," Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neil said in a statement on his official Facebook account.
Australia's government officials had already received a request for help from Papua New Guinean Government and would be providing a RAAF C-130 to conduct aerial surveillance and logistical support to the Papua New Guinea Defense Force, CNN reports.
Due to its position in the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, Papua New Guinea experiences a significant amount of seismic activity. In 1998, part of Papua New Guinea's northern coast was devastated by a tsunami, generated by a 7.0-magnitude quake.
Home to about 7 million people, Papua New Guinea is a popular tourist destination located on the eastern half of the island of New Guinea. Currently, there are no tsunami warnings issued at this time, as stated by the US Pacific Tsunami Centre.