More than a dozen people were reportedly killed in a powerful earthquake that struck Papua New Guinea early Monday.
The 7.5 magnitude quake, which struck about 90 kilometers south of the town of Porgera, knocked out power lines and damaged roads across the small Pacific island, cutting off access and communications to the interior highlands region, which is believed to have sustained the brunt of the damage.
Authorities dispatched emergency teams to Hela province by helicopter to assess the damage and confirm reports of any casualties.
The earthquake forced ExxonMobil to shut down operations at its Hides liquefied natural gas plant located near Port Moresby, and has disrupted activity at other mining, oil and natural gas plants on the island.
Papua New Guinea is one of many nations that sits along the Pacific Ocean's "Ring of Fire," a line of seismic faults in the Pacific Ocean that is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity.