7.5 Earthquake Papua New Guinea

On 26 February 2018 at 0344hrs (PNG) / 25 Feb 1744hrs (UTC), Papua New Guinea was struck by a magnitude 7.5 earthquake, 35 km deep, 89km SSW of Porgera. source The epicenter was located in the Southern Highlands Province, and impacts are also being reported in Hela Province. Information has been slow to come out due to damage to mobile phone networks, but there are early reports coming through describing significant damage. Hundreds of aftershocks have occurred including a magnitude 6.2 earthquake 56km SW of Mendi. source

This report is based on early impact indications found in social media.

Download PDF version of the Situation Report

  • 7.5 Earthquake Papua New Guinea, Sitrep No 1, 27 Feb 2018.pdf

Significant Updates (most recent first)

27 Feb:

  • Southern Highlands Province – Inu village in Kutubu – more than 1,000 people are reportedly in need of rescue as they are now stranded on an island that is sinking after the lake rose up and covered parts of the village including a hospital and school source
  • Governor of Hela province, Philip Undialu, told local media the damage was “extensive”. “Our police station, courthouse, hospital … even private houses have been ripped apart or sunk into the ground,” source
  • A landslip occurred in Mendi, and survivors are being searched for. source
  • People have been injured and buildings damaged in Moro in the Southern Highlands province. source
  • According to the PNG Police, up to 400,000 people across 4 provinces may be impacted. source
  • Police have so far said that 14 people have been confirmed dead, including three from Poroma, south of Mendi. source
  • The number of deaths is unconfirmed, but there are reports of deaths in Mendi and other areas in Southern Highlands Province. There are also unconfirmed reports of 300 injured. Communications are down, but reports are being made using satellite phones. Power is also out, and some roads into the area are blocked by landslips. There are reports filtering through of extensive damage. source
  • There has been no communication with Tari, the capital of Hela Province. It has a population of over 8,000 people and is about 30 km from the 7.5 earthquake epicenter. source
  • PNGDF is working to establish communications with Tari and Komo. Currently the only method of communications is via VHF communications from the Mission Aviation Fellowship source
  • There are reports of deaths in the remote Kutubu region in Southern Highlands province. source
  • Missionary Sally Lloyd has confirmed deaths of 14 people from the Edolo tribe (Border Western Province and Hela). They were killed by a landslide triggered by the earthquake while walking from Huiya in the Bosavi valley to Komo to try to sell produce. source
  • Buildings built in 1952 by the early missionaries (APCM now ECPNG) in Halongali village, Tari, Hela Province are all collapsed. A temporary canvas house has been put up to accommodate the workers who have been serving the church and operating from here, ECPNG Headquarters. (photos) source
  • @ExxonMobil_PNG Hides Gas Conditioning facility has experienced damage Photo
  • Due to the damage to the Hides camp quarters and continuing aftershocks, ExxonMobil PNG is putting plans in place to evacuate non-essential staff,” the company said in an emailed statement. Gas is processed at Hides and transported along a 700-kilometre line that feeds a liquefied natural gas plant near Port Moresby for shipping. source

26 Feb:

  • PNG Disaster Management Team Situation Update No 2, 26 Feb. source
  • The bodies of 3 people killed by the earthquake have been taken to Mendi Hospital. source
  • The government has dispatched disaster assessment teams to the Southern Highlands and Hela provinces. The National Disaster Centre is working with local authorities, and the PNG Defence Force has been mobilized to assist with assessments, aid delivery, and restoration of services and infrastructure. source
  • Red Cross volunteers close to the epicenter could not be contacted due to mobile phone network damage. source

National Links


Regional and Local Links

Hela Province

  • The provincial capital is Tari. Population 249,449 as of 2011. source
  • Provincial Governor, Undialu Philip: facebook
  • Provincial Administrator, William Bando: facebook
  • Provincial Disaster Office contacts: website
  • Koroba, Hela Province: facebook


Southern Highlands Province

  • The provincial capital is Mendi. Population 515,511 as of 2011. Languages include: Anggal Heneng, Imbongu, Kewa, and Wiru, Biami, Foe, and Fasu. source
  • Provincial Disaster Office contacts: website


Western Highlands Province

  • The provincial capital is Mount Hagen. Population 362,850 as of 2011. source
  • Provincial Disaster Office contacts: website


Emergency Numbers

Emergency Phone Numbers

  • Police, fire, ambulance: 000
  • Other emergency numbers: http://www.pngbd.com/emergency.php

Information Helplines

  • PNG Red Cross Society – Ph: (675) 325 8579/ 7016, Fax: (675) 325 9714, Email: communications@redcross.org.pg. @PNGRedCross

Reunification Hotlines and Websites

Maps and Situational Awareness

26 Feb: ERCC ECHO Daily Map of impact zone in PNG. source

Shelters and Evacuation Centers

To be determined.


Status of Hospitals / Clinics

27 Feb:

  • Hela Province – Hela Provincial Hospital damaged source
  • Southern Highlands Province – Kutubu – Inu Sub-Health Centre is submerged source

26 Feb:

  • Southern Highlands Province – Mendi – Equipment at Mendi Hospital has been broken but the facility’s power and water supplies had been re-connected. source



Health facilities interactive Google Map

Mendi General Hospital

Coordinates: -6.127262, 143.652501

PO BOX 63 251

Southern Highlands Province – Mendi

Telephone: 5491166

website: none, social media: none

Nearby cities: Wewak, Lae, Muara Tami


Marara Health Post

Coordinates -5.953010, 143.511998

Telephone: none

website: http://marara-health-post-mrdc-funded.business.site/

Social media: none


Hela Provincial Hospital

Coordinates -5.846343, 142.950481

Lamang Rd, Papua New Guinea


Special Needs Populations

To be determined



Lists of Airports / Links

Airports list There are over 500 local and regional airstrips and airports in PNG – many are operated by private companies. The Main airport is Port Moresby Jackson’s International Airport. Airlines flying into PNG include Air Niugini, Airlines of PNG, Airlink limited and Qantas Airways.

Visa Requirements http://www.immigration.gov.pg/visa.html

Customs Requirements Travelers information


27 Feb Hela Province Airstrips and Airports

While the Tari and Komo airports are unsafe for fixed wing aircraft, workers are being flown out of Komo via choppers to Moro. The PNG Defense Force is still awaiting confirmation from Tari airport whether it an take fixed wing aircraft. source

  • Hela Province Tari Airport -5.843649, 142.948202 – Unknown status Map
  • Closed Komo International Airport – Flights into the Komo airfield have been suspended. Location Latitude: S 6° 4′ 5.5” Longitude: E 142° 51′ 35.3” Half the runway is reported to be damaged Airport infoMapPhoto1, Photo2 Source1
  • Closed Tari Airport Google Map Source

27 Feb Hela Southern Highlands Airstrips and Airports

27 Feb Hela Western Highlands Airstrips and Airports

Roads / Bridges


  • 27 Feb The newly build Mendi-Kandep road has suffered major earthquake damage including a 60m landslide Source Photo
  • 27 Feb: Tagari River is blocked by major landslides all along its banks photos



27 Feb:

  • Southern Highlands Province – Kutubu – Ina Village – Mobile service is restored source
  • Hela Province Hides and Tari – PNGDF is working to establish communications. Currently the only method of communications is via VHF communications from the Mission Aviation Fellowship source
  • Hela and Southern Highlands Province – 60 of 72 Digicel sites are down. Two technical teams have been dispatched to the sites source
  • Hela and Southern Highlands Province – Communications have been disrupted. source

26 Feb

Southern Highlands Province – Mendi reported to be without Communications Location: 6°8′52″S 143°39′26″E Population 56k Source


  • Pre-event repeater locations: Rick Warnett (SK) P29KFS from Port Moresby Papua New Guinea repeaters. source
  • AM, FM, and Shortwave radio stations in the provinces of the Highlands region. source

Useful Links:

Mining, Petroleum, and Natural Gas Operations


26 Feb:

  • The Ok Tedi copper mine reported serious damage to roads and copper pipelines. source
  • Access to the Fubilan Mine Pit and Mill has been disrupted by landslides. The pipelines carrying copper concentrate to the river port of Kiunga and pyrite to Bige have also been damaged, raising serious concerns about toxic spills into the environment. Damage to the mine pit remains unclear at the moment while water supply to the mill has been disrupted. source
  • Reports from Mougulu station near the PNG Liquefied Natural Gas (PNGLNG) Project, suggest that a huge red flash and then smoke was seen in the night as people looked towards the Komo / Hides gas fields. Considering the severe impact on the Ok Tedi pipeline, there are concerns about the integrity of the gas pipeline that runs from the highlands to Port Moresby. source
  • Oil Search’s production facilities in the highlands have been shut down. All personnel have been accounted for, and there are no injuries. source
  • Exxon Mobil has shut down the PNG LNG operations at Hides. source The Gas Conditioning facility has experienced damage Photo Due to the damage to the Hides camp quarters and continuing aftershocks, ExxonMobil PNG is putting plans in place to evacuate non-essential staff,” the company said in an emailed statement. Gas is processed at Hides and transported along a 700-kilometre line that feeds a liquefied natural gas plant near Port Moresby for shipping. source

Power and Fuel


  • 27 Feb: Power is out in Hela and Southern Highlands provinces. source

Useful Links:

  • PNG Power Ltd – website, National Call Centre Numbers: 7090 8000 / 7653 5272 / 7652 5261 or email us: callcentre@pngpower.com.pg

Water Systems


To be determined.

Pictures and Videos

27 Feb:

  • Videos from helicopter of landslips along Hegegio River near Moro, Southern Highlands. video1 video2
  • Photos of people looking for survivors following landslip in Mendi. source
  • Mendi-Kandep road has suffered major damage,60m landslide Source
  • Komo Airport landing strip damaged Photo1, Photo2
  • Photos of landslides, road damage, building damage after 21 hours of shaking. source
  • Video of photos damage to roads, buildings, injured. source
  • CTGN news video showing landslips and pipe damage. source
  • Photo of road damage. source
  • Photo of landslip. source
  • Photos of Landslides and mudflows caused by heavy rain at Wangbin village near Ok Tedi. source
  • Destroyed houses. source
  • Landslides and road damage near Hides Gas Conditioning Plant in Hela Province. source

26 Feb:

  • EMTV video of National Disaster Management Office update. source
  • Victims from Taguru village, Pangia, Southern Highlands Province. source
  • Copper slurry and pyrite spilling from Ok Tedi’s damaged pipelines. source

Twitter Accounts


#PNG #PapuaNewGuinea #PNGquake

Twitter Accounts of Interest


FaceBook Accounts


Traditional Media (TV, Radio, Newspapers)


Volunteers Reporting

Alice, Aline, Chris, Cat, Larry, Crystal, Judi, Cindy, Yakubu, Lloyd, Joe, Nafisa

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