Call For Investigation Into Cause Of Quake in Papua New Guinea

Post Courier | March 7, 2018

The Hela provincial government has asked for an independent group to look into the cause of the earthquake.

Governor Philip Undialu said that the call was made after those affected by the earthquake asked the provincial government to look into the cause of the disaster.

Mr Undialu said that the sudden earthquake was undetected by disaster relief offices both in PNG and abroad. “Hela Provincial government will support the call from the Hela people especially victims of the earthquake to look into the cause of the 7.5 magnitude earthquake.

“We know, the country needs this project but we owe it to the people especially the victims.

“More than 50 people died, hundreds got injured, many made homeless. I’ve been on the ground since day two of the earthquake and am devastated with the extent of damage done here,” Mr Undialu said.

He said that though he appreciated the assistance they were receiving from the National Government, ExxonMobil and Oil Search towards the victims, they wanted this call to be taken seriously.

“Our long-term relationship will very much depend on the findings. I don’t want the projects resumes to resume operation until the companies are cleared of suspicion of any responsibility,” he said.

People are suspicious that the operator of PNGLNG project or anyone of the drilling companies may have used “Hydraulic Fracturing” or “fracking” method of drilling or waste water disposal that may have destabilised the rock structure beneath, he added. The suspicion is based on the following facts:

1. The epicentre of the earthquake is within the project areas of Hides, Angore, Juha, and Moran areas. We lost more than 50 lives in those areas. We saw massive landslips within the area especially along the Tagali river which is within the project area.

2. The earthquake was not detected by disaster monitoring group in PNG and abroad. There is history or any prediction on such earthquake.

3. The earthquake shockwaves continue for almost seven days and we are uncertain about the future.

4. No one, including the National Disaster Office, has any good answers on this issue. Some are saying, we are within the Pacific Rink of Fire. A geologist predicted it could be mountain building process whilst others blaming companies for using fracking methods. We are confused who to blame, Mr Undialu said.


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