Papua New Guinea earthquake death toll reaches 67 as aftershocks strike | News | DW | 05.03.2018
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Papua New Guinea earthquake death toll reaches 67 as aftershocks strike

Strong aftershocks have rocked Papua New Guinea's highlands, with rescue crews struggling to reach remote villages. The Red Cross has said 67 people were killed in last week's initial quake.

The Red Cross has said at least 67 people were killed by a major earthquake that devastated Papua New Guinea's remote highlands last week. Thousands are still without food and clean water.

Aid workers have had to grapple with blocked roads and power outages to reach villages that were cut off after a 7.5-magnitude quake struck on February 26 in the Pacific nation's mountainous interior.

People in the Southern Highlands, Western, Enga and Hela provinces have also had to deal with strong aftershocks, including two 6.0-magnitude tremors early Monday.

Udaya Regmi, the PNG country head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said "around 143,000 people are affected and 17,000 people have been generally displaced because their homes are either fully or partially damaged and not in a condition to live in."

No official government death toll has been released.

Watch video 00:57

Villagers assess damage after strong quake

Water, sanitation major concerns

Regmi explained that water and sanitation were major concerns for local communities. Relief workers have been unable to get bigger trucks carrying food through to some areas because of damage to roads by landslides.

Relief efforts are slowly being ramped up, with millions of dollars in aid pledged by the government, ExxonMobil and Australian energy producers.

Australian and New Zealand defense forces have begun delivering aid and the China Red Cross and Beijing have pledged financial assistance.

av/cmk (AFP, Reuters)

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