September 10, 2005

Papau New Guinea still unsure of quake’s impact

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Efforts to assess the impact of a large
earthquake deep under the sea in a remote region of Papua New
Guinea were hindered on Saturday by a lack of communication
with local villages, emergency officials said.

Friday's quake, measuring 7.3 in magnitude shook, parts of
New Britain and New Ireland provinces but there were no
immediate reports of damage.

"We do not believe there was much damage to villages or any
loss of life, but we are still trying to contact our people on
the ground in the area because there are very few telephones
there," a spokesman for the National Disaster and Emergency
Services told Reuters.

"The little we do know seems to indicate there was not much
damage," he added.

The epicenter of the quake was off the east coast of New
Britain, about 130 km (80 miles) east-southeast of Rabaul.

The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said on Friday
there was no threat of a Pacific-wide tsunami from the quake,
which Geoscience Australia said occurred at a depth of 95 km
(60 miles).

Papua New Guinea lies to the east of Indonesia, which bore
the brunt of the 9.15 magnitiude quake and tsunami on December

Seismically active, Papua New Guinea also lies on "the Ring
of Fire," a zone of volcanic activity which accounts for 75
percent of the world's active and dormant volcanoes.

Rabaul, on New Britain island, was destroyed in the
September 1994 eruption of Tuvurvur volcano.

In July 1998, two undersea quakes measuring 7.0 created
three tsunamis that killed at least 2,100 near the town of
Aitape on the north coast of Papua New Guinea.