Disaster relief workers in Papua New Guinea are working to help survivors of a magnitude 7.0 earthquake.
According to ABC News, Mathew Moihoi, acting assistant director of the Port Moresby Geophysical Observatory, said some buildings and houses were destroyed in the earthquake, and workers were assessing deaths and serious injuries.
Much of the area is also remote, he added, and it could be several days before officials know the full extent of the earthquake’s damage.
The quake struck early in the morning, but the epicenter was nearly 38 miles deep. The quake was powerful but deep enough that less damage may have been caused because of the epicenter’s location.
Officials did not issue a tsunami order, which is sometimes called after an earthquake, but officials did warn that the loosening of soft ground in the quake zone has the potential to trigger landslides that could then cause major damage.
Papua New Guinea is located on the eastern half of New Guinea, north of Australia, on the Pacific “Ring of Fire.” The area is known for seismic faults, where much of the world’s volcanic and earthquake activity occurs.
Most recently, a magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck Papua New Guinea in September in a remote area, killing 21 people.
In 1998, more than 2,000 people were killed in Papua New Guinea after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck nearby and triggered a 50-foot-high tsunami.
Papua New Guinea is mostly rural, and some 40 percent of the population are subsistence farmers.
A 2011 census found that 95 percent of the population in Papua New Guinea identified themselves as Christian. Of that, 26 percent said they were Roman Catholic and 18 percent identified as Evangelical Lutheran.
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.