An earthquake measuring 8.0 on the Ritcher scale hit the Solomon Islands in the Pacific, killing at least five people, and caused a powerful tsunami that devastated coastal areas thousands of miles away.
The tsunami was formed after the earthquakenear Lata on Santa Cruz, the easternmost part of the Solomons.
Luke Taula, a fisheries officer in Lata (Santa Cruz Islands) in the archipelago of Solomon, claimed to have seen the tsunami coming in small tidal surges rather than one large wave and the waves reached the airport terminal, he told Reuters by telephone.
Around 60 or 70 homes were damaged by the freak waves which hit at least four cities of Santa Cruz.
The earthquake occurred at 1.12am Portuguese time between Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, northeast of Australia, near the Santa Cruz islands, where there had been strong tidal movements and winds in recent days, reported the United States Geological Survey, a scientific agency of the United States government.
At the time of going to press on Wednesday, the natural disaster had caused five deaths, including a child, and three injuries, and it was feared that other villages along the coast of Santa Cruz may be affected, a nurse at Lata Hospital told AFP news agency.
John Lansley, Solomon Islands Police Commissioner, also said that it was too early to estimate the total damage and precise number of casualties, and said that the authorities hoped to send an aircraft to the region on Thursday in order to discover the real extent of the damage.
“It’s an area that is very prone to earthquakes,” said Jonathan Bathgate, seismologist at Geoscience Australia.