Eight weeks to fix PNG LNG quake damage

67 killed in PNG quake

The director of the International Red Cross in PNG, Udaya Regmi, said the quake destroyed or damaged the homes of about 7,000 people, while 147,000 were in severe need of food, water and sanitation.

"The challenge is road access, it's still not accessible to trucks and four-wheel drives", Regmi said.

The natural disaster damaged the impoverished nation's biggest-ever development project as well, the PNG LNG project operated by U.S. energy giant ExxonMobil, setting it back by up to 8 weeks as the facilities damaged by the quake would undergo repairs. Severe damage after Monday's powerful 7.5 magnitude quake in Papua New Guinea is hindering efforts to assess the destruction, although officials fear dozens of people may have been injured or killed. It's one of the reasons there is a shortage of food.

"The rugged terrain and loss of communications in the area impacted means it is taking time to build a complete picture of the damage but we know that tens of thousands of people are reported as requiring humanitarian assistance", New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said in a statement on Monday.

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Rufaro Chatora of the World Health Organization said it recommended that production at the Polokwane plant be stopped entirely. As of 02 March 2018, a total of laboratory-confirmed cases have risen to 948, still counting from January 2017.

The recovery effort has been slow as aid workers grapple with blocked roads and power outages to reach cut-off villages after the 7.5-magnitude quake struck on February 26 in the Pacific nation's mountainous interior.

"Public health and public hygiene are now concerns", she said.

Aid workers warned of the need for help in the hard-to-reach region.

Julie Sakol a nurse at Mendi General Hospital said on Sunday the aftershocks were slowly decreasing.

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Australian Sally Lloyd who is visiting PNG said villagers were terrified by the constant shaking. "They think the end of the world is happening".

In a statement, Darian Clark, the humanitarian duty officer at the Australian high commission in Papua New Guinea, said it "was the biggest quake in a hundred years and it spread 150 kilometers across the fault line".

The PNG and Australian governments, the Red Cross and Care International have all provided aid.

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