— MARTYN NAMORONG (@MartynNamorong) 27 februari 2018
The impoverished Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea has been devastated by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake that has claimed at least 16 lives and brought the heartland of the country to its knees.
The earthquake, the strongest ever to hit the country, struck the Southern Highlands, Hela Province and the Western Highlands region early on Monday morning, but the extent of the devastation took days to emerge because of the area’s remoteness.
Southern Highlands governor William Powi said on Wednesday that authorities in his region were still trying to assess the extent of the damage, and his people were traumatized, with the disaster causing “catastrophic havoc and destruction.”
Uvenama Rova, secretary general of the PNG Red Cross, said he had confirmed reports of 11 deaths in the southern highlands region and five in Hela province, though his contacts in the affected regions reported “many” more deaths, entire villages buried under landslips, and mass grieving by affected communities.