SYDNEY – A series of earthquakes measuring up to magnitude-7.5 have shaken Papua New Guinea, the United States Geological Survey said on Tuesday.
At least 31 people have died and 300 were injured from landslides caused the tremors on Monday, Hela Provincial Administrator William Bando told local newspaper The Post Courier.
The authorities have mobilized troops and rescue teams, but they have yet to provide information about material damage or possible victims owing to the terrain of the region.
The region is mountainous and thus difficult to access by land, hampering any rescue operations.
Police said that up to 400,000 people in four provinces have been affected by the quakes, which hit the region on early Monday.
The magnitude-7.5 tremor struck at a depth of 35 kilometers, with its center about 90 kilometers (21 miles) south of Porgera, in the province of Enga, according to the USGS.
The quake was followed by several aftershocks into Tuesday.
Ok Tedi Mine and ExxonMobil-operated gas conditioning plant in Hides gas field, Hela Province, have been shut down as a precautionary measure to assess possible damage to the facilities.
The country sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, an area of great seismic and volcanic activity that is hit by around 7,000, mostly moderate, earthquakes every year.