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Papaua New Guinea quake kills four, homes destroyed

At least four people have been killed and hundreds of houses destroyed in a remote area of northern Papua New Guinea, an official said on Tuesday, a day after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake.

Teams from Papua New Guinea’s National Disaster Centre are at the quake’s epicentre near Chambri Lakes, a remote and swampy part of East Sepik province, Felix Taranu, a seismologist with the Port Moresby Geophysical Observatory, told Reuters on Tuesday.

Four people are confirmed dead and 300 houses destroyed along the Sepik River region, and there are unconfirmed reports of further deaths and several hundred more houses destroyed, he added.

“The local member is liaising with his people to confirm the exact details of the number of houses and victims and any effects in the region,” Taranu said.

The quake struck at a depth of 80km (49.71 miles) early on Monday, according to the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC).

Australia is ready to assist with relief and recovery efforts, Foreign Minister Penny Wong said on Tuesday.

Papua New Guinea straddles the Pacific’s “Ring of Fire”, a region known for frequent earthquakes. A 7.6 magnitude quake last September killed seven and triggered landslides across three provinces.

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