Solomons quake triggers tsunami, destroys villages

Solomons quake triggers tsunami, destroys villages

Solomons quake triggers tsunami, destroys villages

Updated 6 February 2013, 14:23 AEST

A magnitude 8.0 earthquake off Solomon Islands has generated a tsunami and wiped out at least three villages.

A magnitude 8.0 earthquake off Solomon Islands has generated a tsunami and destroyed three villages.

A tsunami warning has been issued for the South Pacific, although the Bureau of Meteorology says Australia is not at risk.

Follow our blog for live coverage. All times AEDT.

 

 

2:09pm: An eight-centimetre tsunami has hit in the Solomons capital.

 

@an_news PTWC says 8cm tsunami wave has hit Solomons' capital, Honiara, with no damage reported

 

 

2:06pm: Australia is now in the tsunami warning area, according to the latest update from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre.

The Bureau of Meteorology says Australia is not at risk.

2:05pm: The Solomon Islands Visitor Centre has spoken to ABC News 24, confirming the 90cm sea level rise in the Santa Cruz Islands, but saying it's not clear if its a tsunami wave or if the sea is just rising.

In Lata, the provincial capital of the worst-hit area, there are no reports of damage so far.

The fate of a number of coastal villages remains unclear.

Augustine Bilve, the director of nursing at Lata Hospital, has told the AFP news agency patients at the hospital are being evacuated to prepare for any injured from the villages along the coast.

"We were told that after the shaking, waves came to the villages.

"So far, we are waiting in Lata and are evacuating patients in case there are any casualties."

 

2:00pm: Solomon Islands police in the small town of Kira Kira, on San Chrostobal island, have told Reuters they felt the quake.

But local police officer Samuel Tora said there have been no reports of any damage from the quake or a tsunami.

"We felt the shock. We have warned people to get to higher ground."

 

1:55pm: @simskepui, a resident of Honiara in the Solomons, has tweeted a photo of the area following the alert.

"Here in Honiara no signs of anything so far. Residents have been asked to move to hills."

 

1:51pm: New Zealand's Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management has issued a potential threat advisory for North Cape, Auckland West, East Cape, Gisborne, Auckland East, New Plymouth, Wellington.

People in coastal areas are urged to note that a tsunami is possible.

1:38pm: The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre says there is no tsunami threat to Hawaii.

1:34pm: Andrew Tupper of the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre says at this stage there is no tsunami warning for Australia.

He told ABC News 24 that Australian scientists assessed the quake at 7.9 magnitude.

"At this stage we do not have a tsunami warning for Australia. We've got no threat... at this stage not an issue."

No tsunami warning for Australia Video: No tsunami warning for Australia (ABC News)

 

1:32pm: The Australia Network reports that in Lata in the Solomons, police say three villages have been wiped out.

@an_news Santa Cruz authorities say not known if any lives lost from tsunami, but police heading to affected areas to assist and assess

 

1:30pm: Tourism operators are reporting damage in the Santa Cruz islands, near the quake epicentre.

1.27pm: The USGS says at least five aftershocks, ranging from 5.2 to 6.6 magnitude, have struck since the initial 8.0-magnitude quake.

1:24pm: Nathan Becker from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre is urging people Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands to move to higher ground.

Audio: Nathan Becker talks to Radio Australia (ABC News)

 

"The areas that are closest to the earthquake would be the Santa Cruz Islands, but above those the Solomons and Vanuatu are the next closest island groups.

"People in those areas should definitely be clearing the beaches and moving to higher ground."

 

1:22pm: Some more information is coming out of the Solomons capital Honiara, where villages have reportedly been destroyed.

Augustine Bilve, the director of nursing at Lata Hospital on the main Santa Cruz island of Ndende, has told the AFP news agency locals have reported damage:

"The information we are getting is that some villages west and south of Lata along the coast have been destroyed, although we cannot confirm this yet."

 

1:16pm: The tsunami warning centre says a 90cm tsunami is now hitting Solomon Islands.

France has issued a tsunami warning for New Caledonia, saying the wave may hit in 45 minutes' time.

 

1:15pm: Here's what we know so far:

 

The United States Geological Survey said the quake was a shallow 5.8 kilometres deep and the epicentre was 347km east of Kira Kira.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) confirmed a tsunami had been generated and said it could be destructive near the epicentre.

A local hospital director quoted by the AFP news agency said some villages in Solomon Islands had been destroyed.

Map: Quake off Solomon Islands

 

The centre did not say how big the tsunami was, but it gave arrival times from a few minutes to several hours to island nations around the South Pacific.

"When no major waves are observed for two hours after the estimated time of arrival or damaging waves have not occurred for at least two hours then local authorities can assume the threat is passed," the Hawaii-based centre said.

A PTWC tsunami warning is current for Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, Kosrae, Fiji, Kiribati, and Wallis and Futuna.

Read the full tsunami warning here.

A tsunami watch is in effect for other areas, including Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Samoa.

However, a Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre advisory at 12:30pm (AEDT) said it was not issuing any watch or threat warning for Australia.

An earthquake measuring 6.3 magnitude struck south-east of the Solomon Islands earlier today.

ABC/Reuters