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Papua New Guinea rocked by 7-magnitude earthquake claiming 4 lives

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At least four people have been killed and more than 300 homes destroyed after a powerful earthquake rocked a remote area of ​​Papua New Guinea, local media reported, as disaster relief officials worked to assess the damage further on Tuesday.

The 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck a remote area early Monday morning, causing deep cracks in the ground near the epicenter of Lake Champery in the northern part of the Pacific country.

Matthew Moyhoe, deputy director of the Port Moresby Geophysical Observatory, told the Associated Press that the area is characterized by swamps and people tend to live a subsistence life hunting and fishing. Because of the area’s remoteness and irregular communications, he said, it could take several days to know the extent of the damage.

Four people were killed and at least 17 injured after the quake caused damage in 23 villages around the epicenter, the Papua New Guinea Post-Courier newspaper reported, citing local officials.

Moyhoei said he had heard reports of the four deaths although his agency has yet to verify this figure.

He said the quake was large enough that it could be felt in the surrounding areas, including the highlands of the country.

The quake hit shortly after 4 a.m. at a depth of 62 kilometers below the surface of the earth, according to the US Geological Survey.

Papua New Guinea is located in the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, east of Indonesia and north of Australia.

It sits on the Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire,” the arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where much of the world’s earthquakes and volcanic activity occurs.

It was later found that a 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck a remote area of ​​Papua New Guinea in September, killing 21 people.

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