11 Sep 2002

Death toll still uncertain after Papua New Guinea earthquake

10:16 am on 11 September 2002

The official death toll from the 7-point-6 earthquake in Papua New Guinea still stands at three.

But there are reports that four people have died on Kairuru Islands, off Wewak, while an official with the Catholic church says according to its latest reports, six people were killed when their houses collapsed.

The area has been hit by aftershocks as assessments of the damage continue.

The acting provincial administrator in Wekak, Raymond Kamanabi, says the earthquake caused a range of problems, with fears that ruptured pipes will take weeks to repair.

"The most urgent need right now is to restore the town's water supply. That is very critical because the town has a population of about thirty thousand."

The acting provincial administrator in Wekak, Raymond Kamanabi

The town's acting police station commander, Inspector Daniel Kayver, says there

was some damage around Wewak itself.

I drove around town and then towards the west coast of Wewak, there was only one village that had a house washed away, and the occupant was washed away as well, but was saved by his children and brought back, that man is now in hospital.

A total of 22 people are reported to have been admitted to Boram General Hospital and 14 to Wewak General Hospital because of injuries suffered in the quake.