Five die in Solomon Islands earthquake, tsunami

A MAJOR 8.0 magnitude earthquake has jolted the Solomon Islands, with small tsunami waves buffeting Pacific coasts, leaving at least five people dead and dozens of homes damaged or destroyed.

A quake-generated wave of just under one metre reached parts of the Solomons, and Vanuatu and New Caledonia also reported rising sea levels, before a region-wide tsunami alert was lifted.

Sirens were heard in Fiji, locals said. "Chaos in the streets of Suva as everyone tries to avoid the tsunami!!" tweeted Ratu Nemani Tebana from the Fiji capital.

The waves reached as far away as Japan, which was hit by a huge tsunami in March 2011 that killed more than 19,000 people.

Japan's Meteorological Agency reported a 40-centimetre tsunami hitting Hachijo Island about 290 kilometres south of Tokyo, while 20-centimetre waves reached the main islands of Kyushu and Shikoku and smaller waves were recorded on Honshu.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre cancelled its regional alert for Pacific-island nations at 1450 AEDT, about two and a half hours after the powerful quake struck near the Santa Cruz Islands in the Solomons.

Read more on the NZ Herald



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