Earthquake measuring 6.3 magnitude strikes Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Photograph:( Others )

WION Web Team Sydney, Australia Apr 07, 2018, 04.16 PM (IST)

Two months after the region struggles to recover from a massive 7.5 earthquake, a powerful 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck the highlands of Papua New Guinea on Saturday, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injury.

The quake was 82 kms (51 miles) southwest of Porgera in Enga province and 47 kms (30 miles) deep, the USGS said.

The European quake monitor EMSC earlier reported the magnitude of the earthquake to be 6.5 and only two kms (1.2 miles) deep, but later scaled it down.

The earthquake happened just two months after a 7.5 quake struck the same highlands area, killing 125 people and leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless, by causing landslides that buried homes and cut roads. 

February's quake also damaged mining and power infrastructure and led ExxonMobil Corp to shut its $19 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant, the country's biggest export earner. Miners Barrick Gold Corp and Ok Tedi Mining also reported damage to infrastructure.

The region is still struggling to revive from February's earthquake. The United Nations estimates that some 270,000 people are in need of immediate assistance and 43,116 people remain displaced in 44 locations and care centres.

Some of the resource companies in the region, such as Oil Search, are still about eight weeks away from full operations. Oil production at the Gobe field had already returned to normal.

The United Nations pulled out its aid workers just two days before the latest quake due to violence from residents. They have vowed to return once it is safe for them to do so.

Quakes are common in Papua New Guinea, which sits on the Pacific's "Ring of Fire", a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates.

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