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[Radio Australia] 6.8 Earthquake Hits Northern Coast Of Papua New Guinea

Quake centered near Aitape sends people running in the streets

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By Liam Fox

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, April 17, 2013) – A strong earthquake off Papua New Guinea’s north coast has sent people running for higher ground, fearing a tsunami.

The U.S. Geological Survey says a magnitude 6.8 quake struck at around 9am local time at a depth of just 13 kilometers.

Its epicenter was 19 kilometers from Aitape, which was struck by a tsunami in 1998 that killed more than 2,000 people.

Max Kamave at the Aitape Resort Hotel says it felt like the quake lasted for three minutes, and the ground shook strongly, sending stock tumbling off the shelves.

He says many people ran to higher ground.

“They were all running around the street,” he said. “They were frightened maybe the sea will come up.”

Mr. Kamave says there have been no unusual waves and the earthquake didn’t cause any significant damage.

No destructive tsunami warning was issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center but it cautioned that earthquakes of this size could sometimes generate local tsunami waves within 100 kilometers of the epicenter.

“Authorities in the region should be aware of this possibility and take appropriate action,” it said.

Personnel at Wewak Hospital, about 150 kilometers from the coastal epicenter, said they felt the tremor but there was no damage to the building or any immediate reports of damage from the town of Wewak.

Hospital spokesman Morris Iuandu said there had been no news yet from Aitape and no casualties were taken to the emergency department in Wewak at this stage.

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra
Copyright © 2013 Radio Australia. All Rights Reserved

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