At least five people died after a powerful earthquake hit a remote part of the Eastern New Guinea region.

An earthquake of magnitude 6.1 also struck Mentawai Islands, off the western coast of Indonesia's Sumatra island.
An earthquake of magnitude 6.1 also struck Mentawai Islands, off the western coast of Indonesia's Sumatra island. (AFP)

An earthquake of magnitude 7.6 has struck Eastern New Guinea region in Papua New Guinea, damaging buildings, triggering landslides and killing at least five people, with several more severely injured.

Sunday's quake was reported by European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) and US Geological Survey (USGS). The quake was at a depth of 80 km, EMSC said.

Local member of parliament Kessy Sawang told AFP news agency that at least five people had died in remote mountain villages, with at least four others airlifted to hospital in critical condition.

"There has been widespread damage," she said, adding that a landslide had buried homes and "split" one village where people had "lost their houses".

Morobe Provincial Disaster Director Charley Masange told The Associated Press that three people died in a landslide in the gold-mining town of Wau.

Other people had been injured from falling structures or debris, and there was damage to some health centers, homes, rural roads and highways, Masange said.

'Ring of Fire'

The quake struck at a depth of 61 kilometres, about 67 kilometres from the town of Kainantu, a sparsely populated area, the USGS said, warning that tsunami waves were possible within 1,000 kilometres of the epicentre.

US regulatory agency National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration later removed the tsunami threat for the area.

There was no immediate tsunami threat to Australia, its Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) said.

Papua New Guinea residents on Twitter described feeling the tremors and shared images and videos of items falling off supermarket shelves.

Papua New Guinea is located on the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, to the east of Indonesia and north of eastern Australia.

It sits on the Pacific's "Ring of Fire," the arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where much of the world's earthquakes and volcanic activity occurs.

A magnitude 7.5 earthquake in 2018 in the nation's central region killed at least 125 people. That quake hit areas that are remote and undeveloped, and assessments about the scale of the damage and injuries were slow to filter out.

READ MORE: Back-to-back earthquakes rattle Indonesia's Papua region

Source: TRTWorld and agencies