On Tuesday, 27 February, MAF PNG conducted a 3 hour aerial survey of the regions affected by the recent strong earthquakes in PNG’s mountains highlands region.

Pictures obtained from the survey flight have been tagged with their GPS location and are able to be portrayed in Google Earth. Instructions on accessing this material appears below.

The survey flight identified many new landslides, several of them impacting roadways to various degrees. There is sporadic damage to buildings, but the damage does not appear to be widespread.

Sharlene Coker of MAF PNG writes:
In many ways, the earthquake epicentre was in a fairly unpopulated area which is wonderful. From photos and aerial assessment most damage was just to hillsides and areas where people do not live. There are a lot of roadblocks from landslides that will prevent ease of access. There is also some landslides in different villages.
Concerns:
• Many rivers are blocked and at some point they will let go. Flooding may become an issue.
• We are hearing clean water is not available in several locations.
• Many gardens have been destroyed. This may impact food availability for communities

Other observations include:
• The survey flight over-flew the Highlands Highway from Mt Hagen through to Mendi. Some cracking in the road surface and landslides covering parts of the road were observed, but the highway did not appear blocked or cut off.
• The largest observed landslides were mainly spotted in sparsely populated (or uninhabited) areas.
• Some ‘permanent structure’ housing showed damage with many damaged water tanks. Traditional housing in remote areas is also affected and many show signs of damage.
• South of Komo in the Southern Highlands region was the worst affected area along the aerial survey route. There are very large landslides and some rivers or main water courses appeared blocked and this could pose a flood risk.
• Rivers are very discoloured (silt and dirt) and this may affect safe drinking water.
• The Komo airstrip is damaged and presently unusable due to large surface cracks and damaged edges. Other remote are airstrips appear undamaged.