Police say the death toll from the Papua New Guinea earthquake rises to seven

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – The death toll from the “major” earthquake that struck Papua New Guinea on Sunday has risen to seven, the police commissioner of Papua New Guinea said on Sunday, adding that the quake occurred deep underground, limiting damage.

Police Commissioner David Manning said in a statement Monday that a 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck Markham Valley at 9:46 a.m. Sunday, followed by a 5.0-magnitude earthquake 70 kilometers north an hour later. Read more

He said the two earthquakes were recorded at a depth of 90 kilometers and 101 kilometers underground.

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He said heavy damage to buildings, roads and landslides were reported in Morobi, Eastern Highlands and Madang provinces.

“Unfortunately, seven people have been confirmed dead as a result of these landslides. Three in Kaboom District, three in Wau Town, Morobi Province and one in Rai Coast, Madang Province,” he said.

“This was a big earthquake, but it occurred deep underground, which means that the damage was less than if the epicenter was closer to the surface,” he added.

The airline, Manolos Aviation, has organized medical evacuations from the village of Kumpul in the Kaboom region.

“Half of the mountain is lost,” said Iriberi-Zorinuk, a public relations officer for Manulos Airlines, who was at the site of the accident in Kumpul.

A national command center has been set up by the government, and a COVID-19 hotline has been reassigned to the public to provide information on earthquake damage.

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Manning said the regional power grid, internet cables, roads and highways were damaged.

He said that in the Eastern Highlands province, Goroka University has been damaged and injuries reported to students. Engineers are assessing the damage to the Yonki Dam that caused the power outage.

He said that in Madang province, there were multiple infections as buildings and houses were damaged, and one death was reported on Rai Coast.

He warned of the danger of aftershocks.

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Additional reporting by Kirsty Needham and Lewis Jackson in Sydney; Editing by Ana Nicholas da Costa

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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