Violent earthquake hits Papua New Guinea | News | DW | 14.05.2019
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Violent earthquake hits Papua New Guinea

A powerful earthquake has struck an island chain off Papua New Guinea's north coast. A tsunami warning was briefly issued but later lifted. The extent of any damage was expected to become clear after sunrise.

A shallow, violent offshore quake hit Papua New Guinea's remote New Britain island late on Tuesday.  

The 7.5 magnitude quake initially triggered a tsunami warning. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre warned that unusually large waves could reach Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and Indonesia, however it later said the tsunami threat had passed.

The quake hit around 50 kilometers (30 miles) off the island's north coast at a depth of around 10 km just before 11 p.m. on Tuesday (1300 UTC), the United States Geological Survey said.

Papua New Guinea's Disaster Management Office said villagers on islands closer to the epicenter and on the west coast of neighboring New Ireland island reported the ocean receding, but no damaging waves or casualties.

Poor communications infrastructure, lack of roads and rough terrain make it difficult to assess the full scale of a natural disaster in Papua New Guinea.

Ring of Fire

"It was very strong and shook the whole place up," police sergeant Frank Kilaur said.

"At the moment we haven't had any reports of damage. We will have some more reports, probably in the morning, so we will wait. We are OK here."

Earthquakes are common in Papua New Guinea, which is situated on the "Pacific Ring of Fire," a hotspot of seismic activity. It is still recovering from a 7.5 quake that hit some 900 km to the west in February 2018, killing at least 100 people.

Read more: Strong earthquake hits Papua New Guinea

kw/msh (AFP, Reuters)

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