Papua New Guinea natural disaster death toll reaches 67 as aftershocks strike

Papua New Guinea natural disaster death toll reaches 67 as aftershocks strike

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".

In late February, the country was hit by the 7.5-magnitude quake with dozens of people having been killed.

"Big trucks can not go there".

A house sits collapsed following a strong natural disaster, Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, in Halagoli, Hela Province, Papua New Guinea. Regmi estimated that at least 500 people are injured and 127,000 are in need of immediate assistance. It's one of the reasons the food is becoming less and less.

A week after the quake, the rescue effort is still a logistical challenge due to the remoteness of the regions affected, but CARE International's PNG programme director Anna Bryan said aid agencies were hoping to fly in relief supplies soon.

"A big lake can build-up behind the blockage and under some circumstances when the water reaches the top of the blockage it erodes it away, very quickly releasing a spectacular flood which is obviously a very major hazard for people downstream", geohazards specialist Dave Petley, pro-vice-chancellor at the University of Sheffield, told the ABC's Pacific Beat program.

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Australian and New Zealand defence forces have pitched in to deliver aid, while the China Red Cross and Beijing have pledged financial aid.

The death toll has now reached some 70 people as the quake triggered landslides, destroyed buildings, and closed down oil and gas operations.

Aid has been flown in by aircraft but it is not yet known if it has been able to get to all the people in need.

PNG company Oil Search said it would donate up to $6.4 million in cash and in kind support for disaster relief, while global giant Exxon Mobil said it would give $1.3 million.

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