Strong 6.8 quake hits off Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea quake death toll at 55 as aftershock hits

The most recent quake, early Wednesday, had a magnitude of 6.7.

It is not yet known if the latest quake caused any damage or fatalities.

A magnitude 6.8 quake struck Friday off the east coast of one of Papua New Guinea's islands in the south western Pacific, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

At least 55 people have been confirmed dead, while authorities fear that the death toll could exceed 100.

The nation was hit with the powerful quake on February 26, and it was followed by very strong aftershocks. The quakes have destroyed homes and triggered landslides, while work on four oil and gas fields have been shut down.

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An natural disaster originally measutred as magnitude 7.1 has struck 135 km east of the town of Rabaul, on the eastern tip of Papua New Guinea's island of New Britain. "There will be no quick fix", he said.

Mr O'Neill said the government's immediate focus was the restoration of essential services and the delivery of food, water and shelter, but he said full recovery from the disaster would take several years.

The latest quake hit at 6:39am New Zealand time, 44km north-east of Taron.

"We express our condolences to the government and people of Papua New Guinea and pray that last night's aftershock would be the last", said Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano in a statement.

Landslides and damaged roads and bridges have made it impossible to reach some of the areas by land. "Our people are traumatized and finding it hard to cope".

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