Large Tidal Waves Devastate Northern Coast of Papa New Guinea
Large tidal waves devastated the northern coast of Papa New Guinea on Tuesday. Early estimates have concluded that over 400 people have lost their homes as well as several businesses have been flooded including a local hospital. Fortunatly there has not been any repoted deaths as a result of the tidal waves but that may change as authorities attempt to reach the more rural coastal sections of the country.
Tuesday's huge waves - reportedly caused by tidal surges - lashed an 800km (500 mile) stretch along PNG's northern coastline.
Coastal towns such as Wewak and the nearby island of New Ireland were particularly hard hit and sea levels rose by several feet, reports said.
The onslaught lasted for six hours, reported PNG newspaper The National, creating "pools as deep as two metres, sending sediment and debris flooding into homes and businesses".
Local authorities sent emergency messages to the national government in the capital Port Moresby for assistance with the relief operation.
A huge earthquake off PNG's northern coast in 1998 triggered a 16m-high tsunami that devastated the seaside town of Aitape and killed more than 2,000 people.
Communications across PNG are basic, and many tribes in the country's isolated areas have little contact with each other, let alone the outside world.
Some 80% of the country's population live in rural areas with few or no facilities.