9 Sep 2002

PNG's Wewak area hit by strong earthquake

5:01 pm on 9 September 2002

There have been aftershocks in the north of Papua New Guinea where an earthquake killed at least three people amid fears that the death toll could rise.

The earthquake measuring between 7.5 and 7.9 on the Richter scale hit before dawn and was centred about 30 kilometres northwest of Wewak in East Sepik province.

An estimated 2-thousand people have been made homeless.

The quake has disrupted water supplies to Wewak and caused disruptions in neighbouring areas.

A seismologist from the Australian Geological Survey Organisation, Mark Leonard, says East Sepik province has already had its share of seismic problems.

"It occurred about 100 kilometers away from where the Aitape earthquake occurred in 1998 that caused the Tsunami that killed 2000 people. This earthquake has been less destructive than that one, it did cause a small tsunami of about one metre and was widely felt in PNG."

Mark Leonard says he expects large aftershocks to hit the area for the next two days.