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Warning about dangerous landslide dams after Papua New Guinea earthquake

Staff Writer |
A geohazards specialist says the mass landslides caused by Monday's 7.5 earthquake in Papua New Guinea pose a risk of destructive floods.

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Reports of casualties and damage filtering through from the remote affected Highlands region said many of the deaths were caused by landslides, Radio NZ reported.

Due to disrupted telecommunication and transport links, information about the number of deaths remains patchy.

But as many as fifty deaths have been reported across parts of Hela, Southern Highlands and Western provinces.

Aerial footage showed the quake triggered many big landslides which have blocked whole valleys and deformed substantial tracts of hillsides.

Dave Petley, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) at the UK's University of Sheffield, said the risk was that significant volumes of water build up behind dams created by landslides and then spill over.

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