Maybe my Facebook newsfeed reads a little different than yours but yesterday I had lots of postings regarding the recent 7.7 earthquake in PNG. (The earthquake as well as lots of people posting pictures from the Garth Brooks concert in Sacramento but that’s another story all together:-) But anyways back to the PNG earthquake taking over my newsfeed, it started with a trickle of friends and family asking people in PNG if they were ok, what damage was done, etc. But awhile later there were posts from people in PNG and other people home on furlough, etc who were asking for prayer, posting news stories and the like.
Earthquakes of all sizes happen often in PNG. I felt one about every month or so while I was there. Sometimes they were bigger, sometimes smaller but generally (where I was) the damage was usually minimal. I spent most of my time in the highlands and I remember many the large earthquakes that I heard about in the area occurred underwater. So while we might possibly feel them (or not), it’s the coastal areas that are often more subject to damage. To give you some perspective, PNG is roughly the size of California. So just like an earthquake in LA is often not a threat to people living in Sacramento, an earthquake near Rabaul (like this most recent one) does not even register in the minds of people living in Ukarumpa (roughly between Lae and Mt Hagen if you’re looking at the map above).
However, earthquakes can still cause damage, especially in the coastal regions. But not usually because of the earthquakes themselves but because of tsunamis triggered by the earthquakes. Tsunamis have the ability to wipe out villages or even devastate an entire language group. This has happened in PNG. I’ve heard no news of large tsunamis yet and my friends in the Solomon Islands are not reporting any warnings but please pray for no ill-effects from this large earthquake. Thanks for keeping this region in your prayers once again!