Up to 5,000 people were left homeless in Papua New Guinea after a huge earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale and a tsunami, the Australian Associated Press reported Tuesday.
Thousands were believed to have been left without shelter on New Ireland, East New Britain and on Bougainville Island after traditional huts were destroyed by Thursday's quake and tidal surge.
The tsunami reached a height of only one-meter at Rabaul and Kokopo on East New Britain, but reached 2.5 to three meters on New Ireland and Bougainville.
A man and a child were reported to have died -- the child killed in a collapsed hut on the low-lying Duke of York Islands, near New Ireland, and the man under a landslide on New Ireland.
The Acting Provincial Administrator on New Ireland, Simon Passingan, could not confirm or deny the reports that up to 5,000 people had been directly affected by the quakes.
At least three other major temblors hit the region after Thursday's quake, which left 70 houses destroyed and then washed away by the tsunami in the Namatanai district of New Ireland.
Radio Bougainville said hundreds of villagers along the west coast of Bougainville -- facing the quake's epicenter, between East New Britain, New Ireland and Bougainville -- had fled inland because they feared another tsunami.
On the northern tip of Bougainville on Buka island, 2.5 to three-meter waves washed away several huts at Petats, Haku, Pororan, Saposa and Carterets villages, the radio said.
In 1997, a giant tsunami, caused by an undersea earthquake or a landslide, killed more than 3,500 people near Aitapi, on the northwest coast of mainland Papua New Guinea -- PORT MORESBY (AFP)
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