Fairfax Media Network

Weather News

Authorities assess earthquake damage in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands

Monday April 14, 2014 - 22:44 EST
Audience submitted image
An aerial shot of Makira following the 7.6 magnitude earthquake and localised tsunami on the morning of Sunday April 13, 2014. - Audience submitted

Officials are still assessing the damage caused by two large earthquakes in Bougainville in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.

On Friday, a magnitude 7.1 quake hit off the coast of Bougainville.

A magnitude 7.6 quake struck 100 kilometres south of Kira Kira, the capital of Makira Province, in Solomon Islands early on Sunday.

The large quake and aftershocks off Solomon Islands generated a tsunami warning which was later cancelled.

The Government's National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) has reported zero casualties or damages.

Assistant Director of the Geophysical Observatory in Port Moresby, Chris McKee says there are reports that one small child was killed after a house collapsed in Bougainville during the quake.

He told Radio Australia's the damage in Bougainville appears quite widespread.

"The numbers are something like about 15 houses at Buin in southern Bougainville, but there are many other settlements in the area of southern Bougainville so it looks likely that there's more damage than what has been reported so far," Mr McKee said.

Mr McKee said water supplies were also hit.

"Water tanks commonly burst when there's strong earthquake activity and some water tanks were actually shifted off their foundations."

On Sunday a magnitude 7.5 quake also struck south of Kira Kira just before midnight and there have been a number of aftershocks since.

The US Geological Survey says the likelihood of casualties or damage from the quake was low.

Mr McKee says it's not unusual for aftershocks to continue after quakes like those in Bougainville and Solomon Islands.

"This is a typical pattern of aftershock activity. Normally with a large magnitude earthquake the aftershocks can continue for days or weeks or sometimes months," he said.

No damage on Makira

The Solomon Islands Government has conducted aerial surveys of the tsumami-hit areas on Makira island to determine how much clean-up is required after the quakes.

The Australian High Commission has sent a civilian engineer and a disaster management expert to help with the assessment.

High Commissioner Andrew Byrne says the aerial surveillance confirmed there has been no significant damage to buildings and crops, and no signs of inundation.

"Importantly, that enabled Solomon Islands disaster management authorities to put that aside and come back to focussing on their response to the flooding disaster on Guadalcanal," Mr Byrne said.



The quakes have come as Solomon Islands continue to .

The flooding killed at least 21 people and washed away homes and bridges in Honiara. At least two people are still missing.

There are still 50,000 to 60,000 people homeless - most without shelter and fresh water.

Major roads throughout Guadalcanal are ruined and bridges have collapsed, making it hard for emergency teams to assess the damage.

Last week Australia's Foreign Minister .


- ABC

© ABC 2014

More breaking news

ABC News
Sydney Morning Herald
National Nine News
News Limited

Display Your Local Weather

Weather News

Drought worries grow in Victoria, South Australia with some areas having lowest rainfall on record

17:22 EST

Rainfall totals are the lowest on record over the past year for parts of western Victoria and south-eastern South Australia, weather forecasters are warning.

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce 'takes on board' concern that farmers are struggling to access drought loans

15:53 EST

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has indicated he might be prepared to consider changes to improve the Federal Government's concessional loans scheme for drought-hit farmers.

Labor, Greens slam Agriculture White Paper for lack of strategic vision or climate change consideration

14:44 EST

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says his government "wants to back people who are prepared to back themselves", and that a newly released vision for Australian agriculture will do just that.