Papua New Guinea earthquake death toll rises to 67

A man views a house that collapsed on February 27 in Hela Province.

(CNN)The death toll from a magnitude-7.5 earthquake that hit Papua New Guinea's remote highlands last week has risen to 67, the Red Cross said.

Massive aftershocks continued to rattle the region.
The February 26 quake struck near Porgera in the Pacific nation's Enga province, destroying houses, causing landslides and damaging a major gas plant.
"The national disaster center estimates that 67 people have died and 500 are wounded," said Udaya Remi, the head of the Red Cross in Papua New Guinea.
    "It's very difficult to get accurate information because of damage to roads and the remoteness and ruggedness of the area, but it's thought that 143,000 people have been affected and 17,000 displaced."
    The latest aftershocks, which included a magnitude 6 quake, struck on Monday in the same area, about 600 km (370 miles) northwest of the capital Port Moresby, according to the US Geological Survey.
    Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has declared a state of emergency in the affected areas.
    The region is largely rural with no major urban centers, but around 670,000 people live within 100 km (62 miles) of the quake's epicenter, according to the Red Cross.
    Damage to a road near Mendi in Papua New Guinea's highlands region on February 27.
    The Red Cross, Australia and New Zealand have pledged aid, but the remote area has proven tough to access owing to the combination of rough terrain, bad weather and damaged transport and communications infrastructure.
    "People are finding it difficult to get to hospitals and health centers because of landslides and long distances," said Remi.
    "We have people in the field who are assessing the situation. We'll then decide what sort of operation is needed in terms of food security, health and sanitation."
    Southern Highlands Acti