10 Sep 2002

Reports of 3-thousand people made homeless by PNG earthquake

10:45 am on 10 September 2002

The Save the Children Fund in Papua New Guinea says up to 3-thousand people

have been left homeless after yesterday's earthquake in East Sepik province.

Yvonne Tawia, who works for the Fund, says the quake destroyed homes around the provincial capital, Wewak[, and on four neighbouring islands.

Ms Tawia says the earthquake has disrupted communications links and damaged the main pipeline supplying water to Wewak.

The earthquake, measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale, hit before dawn and killed at least three people.

But she says confirmed casualty and fatality numbers are expected to rise once communications are restored to more remote areas.

Ms Tawia says shelters are needed for those who lost their homes.

"Buildings have collapsed especially the settlement near Wewak town and the four islands off Wewak They reported that most houses there are damaged and the people are going to the bush to get safety. I would say approximately around town about a thousand and of the Island it's more than two thousand. Most mothers and children that have lost their homes they told us they won't have anywhere to stay."

Yvonne Tawia from the Save The Children Fund