By Meleasie Goviro – EMTV News, Port Moresby
The topic for the 2018 NBC National Press Club in June will be ‘Earthquakes and Restoration Efforts to Date’ with special focus on the 7.5 magnitude earthquake that shook the Southern Highlands Province earlier this year.
This was confirmed in a Press Club Background meeting in Port Moresby on Friday (May 25), hosting Chris McKee, Acting Director of the Geohazards Management Division of the Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM). His presentation briefly explained the cause of the series earthquakes in Southern Highlands, Hela and Western Provinces.
Mr McKee also dispelled rumours of the likely hood of the earthquake being induced by mining activities in the Southern Highland Province. “The scientific opinion is that the earthquake was a natural event that was caused by tectonic processes that are long established. They are related to large plate movements and other activities that are associated with the movement of the Australian Plate and the Pacific Plate.” He explained.
DMPGM argues that according to their historical records, the region is a known seismic area and is prone to experience occasional earthquakes.
Mr McKee added that while the reliability of data collected has improved since the 1900’s the department needs more funds to ramp up its capacity to provide more accurate foresight and rapid response in the event of significant geo-hazard disasters.
Mr McKee however noted the 7.5 magnitude earthquake in the Southern Highlands was an eye opener for the DMPGM. The department is now working on the prospect of reviewing building codes in the Province to better withstand earthquakes of a 7.5 magnitude or more. He says discussions have already begun, starting with a workshop convened with development partners in recent weeks.
The 2018 NBC National Press Club in June will host Dr. Bill Hamblin, Emergency Controller of the Southern Highlands Earthquake and Head of the Special Parliamentary Committee.