At least 16 people have died after a 7.5-magnitude earthquake hit Papua New Guinea

  • At least 16 people died, and dozens more were injured, by a 7.5-magnitude earthquake in Papua New Guinea on Monday.
  • Officials are still investigating reports of fatalities and are examining the extent of damage after landslides were triggered.

At least 16 people were killed and dozens more injured after a 7.5-magnitude earthquake hit Papua New Guinea on Monday, according to the Guardian.

Local media originally reported up to 30 people had died, but officials are still investigating reports of fatalities and are examining the extent of damage after landslides were triggered.

The quake hit early Monday about 55 miles (89 kilometers) from the central city of Porgera in the Pacific nation. The area is remote and dense with forests.

Several tremors and aftershocks were felt across the country, including a 6.2 quake the following day, according to the US Geological Survey.

At least one house collapsed in Mendi, the capital of the Southern Highlands, killing four people, according to the governor.

Reuters earlier reported a landslide killed 12 people, citing a nurse at Mendi General Hospital.

Mining and power infrastructure on the island were damaged and tremors caused gas giant ExxonMobil to shut operations in its $US19 billion liquefied natural gas plant. It is unknown how long operations will be inactive.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said in a statement that defence forces are prepared to deploy “when the extent of damage has been confirmed.”

“We know that there have been houses lost, roads cut by land slips and disruption to services,” he said.

Papa New Guinea’s disaster management office said it was verifying reports of deaths but that it could take days to confirm an official death toll, Reuters reported.

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