Solomon Islands emergency crews head to tsunami devastated villages

Solomon Islands emergency crews head to tsunami devastated villages

Solomon Islands emergency crews head to tsunami devastated villages

Updated 7 February 2013, 17:19 AEST

In Solomon Islands, emergency crews are on their way to the remote Santa Cruz islands after a tsunami caused serious damage to at least five villages. The one metre high tsunami was triggered by a 8.0 magnitude earthquake and travelled half a kilometre inland. The Disaster Management Office in the Solomon Islands says nine people have died and two are missing. World Vision estimates that 700 homes have been destroyed, with as many as 3500 people affected.

In Solomon Islands, emergency crews are on their way to the remote Santa Cruz islands after a tsunami caused serious damage to at least five villages.

The one metre high tsunami was triggered by a 8.0 magnitude earthquake and travelled half a kilometre inland.

The Disaster Management Office in the Solomon Islands says nine people have died and two are missing.

World Vision estimates that 700 houses have been damaged or destroyed with as many as 3500 people affected.

Damage to the airstrip at Lata means flights carrying emergency and relief workers to the Santa Cruz Islands have been delayed.

The Solomons National Disaster Management Office says an aircraft from the Royal Australian Air Force has been deployed to provide an aerial survey of the damage.

Work is underway to repair the strip, and once it's been passed by civil aviation officials a decision will be made on when flights will depart from Honiara.

A patrol boat is also scheduled to leave for the province, carrying emergency supplies.

Audio: World Vision teams head to Santa Cruz islands (ABC News)

World Vision says the full extent of the damage is yet to be assessed with debris and high water levels cutting off access to some areas.

Solomon Islands director, Andrew Catford, says the immediate health concern is the spread of disease.

"There's quite a bit of livestock, chicken and pigs and fish are sort of strewn, particularly in these five communities," he said.

"So obviously you don't want to leave that there for too long given health issues so that's one of the immediate tasks this morning to clear that up."

Solomon Islands police spokesman Godfrey Abia says it is still unclear how many people may have been affected.

"Some of the villages close to the coastal area have been totally wiped out by the waves and it travelled further inland, some 500 metres," he said.

"Those communities and those places are very remote. We cannot really confirm how many people live in any of those villages."