‘We were lucky’ says governor of quake-hit PNG province

Over 800 houses were destroyed after a magnitude-7.0 earthquake struck Papua New Guinea's East Sepik province on April 4. Photo: NBC East Sepik / Edward Hagoria

The governor of the Papua New Guinea province worst-hit by last week’s earthquake feared the death toll was going to be much higher.

Eight people are confirmed dead after the magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck East Sepik at around 4am on Monday last week.

The epicentre hit Chambri Lake, about 100km south-west of Wewak at a depth of 60km.

An assessment report from the East Sepik Provincial Disaster and Emergency office said over 800 houses were destroyed.

In the district of Angoram alone 542 houses were lost.

East Sepik’s Governor Allan Bird said he initially thought the loss of lives and damage was going to be much greater.

“We felt we were lucky,” he said.

“It was eight lives lost which is obviously sad, you don’t want to lose anyone, but I guess from a response standpoint we were fairly relieved that it wasn’t worse.”