At least 15 people have been killed and 300 more people have been injured by the 7.5-magnitude earthquake that rattled Papua New Guinea early on Tuesday, February 27. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the earthquake struck 56 km (35 mi) southwest of Mendi (Southern Highlands province) at 01:17 (local time). Further aftershocks are possible in the coming hours and days.
As of 13:00 (local time) on Wednesday, February 28, three oil fields and one liquefied natural gas (LNG) refinery that were damaged during the tremor remain offline. Telecommunications services in the area continue to experience outages. Furthermore, numerous sinkholes and landslides have also rendered many rural roads impassable. Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has pledged military support to assist in the recovery effort.
Papua New Guinea is located on the "Ring of Fire," a zone of tectonic activity around the Pacific that is subject to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Tuesday’s earthquake came less than 24 hours after another 7.5-magnitude earthquake that struck central Papua New Guinea shortly before 04:00 (local time) on Monday.
Individuals present in the impacted region are advised to be prepared for aftershocks and to heed to any instructions issued by local authorities. In the event of aftershocks, individuals are advised to protect themselves as much as possible from falling debris if indoors (e.g. under a table), to move away from windows, and to not attempt to leave the building until the shaking stops. If outdoors, move away from tall buildings, utility wires, and streetlights.
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