Quake sparks tsunami in Solomon

The Pacific tsunami spawned by 8.0-magnitude quake destroys villages and leaves several dead or missing.

world Updated: Apr 02, 2007 13:05 IST

A tsunami spawned by a strong 8.0-magnitude undersea earthquake pounded the Solomon Islands on Monday, sweeping over villages and leaving several people dead or missing, officials and locals said.

Witness reports spoke of waves washing up to 200 metres inland and destroying houses, triggering landslides and forcing residents to evacuate to higher land.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued a tsunami warning for a series of countries in the region.

Japan's Kyodo News, quoting Solomons officials, said some 60 buildings had collapsed in and around the town of Gizo, just 45 kilometres from the quake's epicentre.

A spokesman for the Solomon Islands Office of Emergency Management said there were reports of several people missing after two villages were flooded or hit by associated mudslides in the far west of the archipelago.

"We have unconfirmed reports of a tsunami washing parts of the most western end of the Solomons, where two villages ... near Bougainville are reported to be completely inundated," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The UN-funded communications project Solomon Islands People First Network quoted one of its workers saying villages on the western island of Simbo had been destroyed.

"(The worker) estimated waves washed inland a distant of about two hundred metres from the shoreline," the People First Network said.

"He estimates almost every building of Tapurai village on the island has been washed away," it added, as well as houses in Marusu village and a school classroom.

First Published: Apr 02, 2007 10:58 IST