10 Sep 2005

PNG authorities try to contact East New Britain residents after powerful quake

7:24 am on 10 September 2005

Authorities in Papua New Guinea are making efforts to contact residents in remote areas of East New Britain, after a major earthquake shook the region.

Officials say the quake yesterday, which measured 7.3 on the Richter scale, was unlikely to have triggered a tsunami.

Up to 20,000 people live in and around Rabaul.

The assistant director of the town's Volcanological Observatory, Ima Itikarai, says local houses made of bush materials may have been damaged.

Mr Itikarai says there's no telephone communication with islanders in the Feni and Green groups, closest to the quake's epicentre.