Earthquake Near Solomon Islands Sparks Pacific Tsunami Alert

April 2 (Bloomberg) -- An earthquake of magnitude 7.6 hit 45 kilometers (25 miles) off the coast of the Solomon Islands, spurring a tsunami warning for Australia, Indonesia and South Pacific island nations.

The quake occurred at 7:39 a.m. Solomon Islands time, close to the coastal settlement of Gizo, in the New Georgia archipelago. Its epicenter was 345 kilometers from the capital, Honiara, the U.S. Geological Survey said in an e-mailed alert.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami alert for the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Nauru, Chuuk, New Caledonia, Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands. There were no immediate reporters of damage or casualties.

A tsunami watch extends to Fiji, Guam, New Zealand, the Philippines, Japan and Samoa, the center said in an e-mailed statement.

``An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines near the epicenter within minutes and more distant coastlines within hours,'' the center said in an e-mailed statement. ``Authorities should take appropriate action in response to this possibility


Ana said...

Two dead, more missing in Solomons: report

There are reports that at least two people have been killed and several more are missing after a powerful earthquake and tsunami struck the Solomon Islands, triggering panic across the Pacific and fears of further big waves.

The quake, with a magnitude of 8.1 on the Richter scale, levelled buildings and damaged a hospital on Gizo Island, north-west of the Solomons capital Honiara, while a tsunami sucked homes into the sea as thousands of panicked residents fled for higher ground.

According to eyewitness reports, a 12-year-old girl in the provincial capital Gizo drowned as the tsunami swept ashore, and an elderly woman died when she was trapped in her house as it was washed into the sea by the retreating wave.

Solomon Islands chief government spokesman Alfred Maesulia says four people are reported missing after a series of landslides on Mono Island.

"It was just like a real extreme tide ... the water just came up about probably about 4 to 5 metres above sea level and kind of just went up into the communities and doused everything," Danny Kennedy, a dive shop owner and provincial politician on Gizo.

Also in Gizo, a hospital was damaged in the town of about 20,000 and patients have been taken to a doctor's house on higher ground, with more than 2,000 left homeless.

"There are quite large boats sitting in the middle of the road. Many of the houses that were on stilts are sitting on the ground. A number of the coastal communities have been completely wiped out," Mr Kennedy said.

In the Papua New Guinea port city of Rabaul, residents fled as the sea drained, a possible pointer to a coming tsunami.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii placed the quake's centre 350 kilometres north-west of Honiara when it struck at about 6:40am (local time).

An alert from the centre also prompted regional tsunami warnings in Japan and Australia.

Solomons' disaster management authorities say communications problems are preventing an assessment of damage on Simbo Island where the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation says residents have reported waves travelling up to 200 metres inland.


Ana said...

Last Update: Tuesday, April 3, 2007. 5:43am (AEST)
On alert: A large undersea earthquake triggered the tsunami in the Solomons.

Solomons declares state of emergency

The Government of the Solomon Islands has declared a state of emergency in the wake of yesterday's devastating tsunami.

Local officials say as many as 20 people have been killed, but have warned that the death toll is likely to rise.

An assessment team of government officials and Red Cross workers has been sent to the region to determine what kind of humanitarian assistance is needed.

Western Province premier Alex Lokopio says up to 4,000 people have taken refuge in hills on the badly-effected island of Gizo and are in desperate need of water, food and tents.

"For the next three days or four days, if there is not anything coming from Honiara or any other parts of the world, there are people here in Gizo who will be sitting down underneath the trees for day and night," he warned.

United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon says a UN team is ready to travel to the stricken South Pacific state.

"The secretary-general is deeply concerned by the potential consequences of the earthquake and tsunami that hit the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea," spokeswoman Michele Montas said.

"The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has a team ready to deploy to the Solomon Islands and has offered assistance to the Government."