1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites
CatastrophePapua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea: Earthquake kills at least 5

March 25, 2024

The 6.9 magnitude earthquake hit the western part of Papua New Guinea, with officials saying hundreds of homes have been destroyed.

File picture of a village in the Eastern Highlands Province
The quake rocked the East Sepik region around 470 miles (756 kilometers) northwest of the capital of Port MoresbyImage: Wirestock/Pond5 Images/IMAGO

Authorities in Papua New Guinea said at least five people were killed and hundreds of homes destroyed following a 6.9 magnitude earthquake.

The quake struck near the town of Ambunti in the remote East Sepik region, situated about 470 miles (756 kilometers) northwest of the capital, Port Moresby.

"So far, around 1,000 homes have been lost," East Sepik Governor Allan Bird said, adding that emergency crews were "still assessing the impact" from a tremor that "damaged most parts of the province."

Fears death toll could rise

Christopher Tamari, the provincial police chief, told AFP news agency that emergency teams were still making their way into the remote region covered in dense jungle. He warned the number of fatalities "could be more."

Dozens of villages which lie along on the banks of the Sepik River were already battling with floods when the quake struck early on Sunday morning.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue a tsunami warning after the earthquake struck at 6:22 a.m. local time (2022 GMT Saturday) at a depth of approximately 35 kilometers (21 miles).

The 'Ring of Fire'

Papua New Guinea is located on the Pacific's Ring of Fire — one of the most tectonically active areas in the world, where about 90% of all earthquakes strike. 

The South Pacific island nation is located to the north of Australia and experiences more than 100 earthquakes of magnitude five or greater each year.

In 2018, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake in Papua New Guinea's Hela province killed at least 125 people .

Papua New Guinea: Villagers assess damage after strong quake

kb/wmr (AFP, AP)