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Lethal tsunami hits Solomon Islands

Two earthquakes stroke the Solomon Islands on Monday 2nd of April causing a tsunami that hit the western part of the island country. The waves reached 10 meters high causing the death to six people in the…

Two earthquakes stroke the Solomon Islands on Monday 2nd of April causing a tsunami that hit the western part of the island country. The waves reached 10 meters high causing the death to six people in the western territories while several others were missing as the government website reported.

Choiseul province has confirmed two deaths at Sasamunga village while villagers continue to search for missing relatives.

In Western Province, reports from Mono Island at the maritime border with Papua New Guinea, 3 persons were reported dead while a young girl is confirmed dead at an island village near Gizo town as search for missing people continued since this morning.

A hospital worker in Gizo said six more bodies were found floating in seas near Malakera villages adjacent to Gizo town including two children increasing the death toll to 12.

Ian Maneatu Laska said from Gizo by phone the latest casualties were caused by huge waves that hit the villages. Mr Laska said the Gizo hospital was closed today in light of the destruction. He said many people on Gizo and other surrounding islands continue to seek refuge on higher grounds.

As the South-Pacific Tourism Organization reported the an earthquake measuring 8.1 at 7.40 am local time Monday has reportedly caused localised damage at nearby Gizo, with some buildings toppled and slow moving coastal waters heading about 500m inland to a depth of 1 to 2 metres. Officials are still trying to determine the extent of the damage and casualties. Solomon`s capital of Honiara, 350km away, is reportedly unaffected.

A tsunami warning was issued for the West and Central Pacific including the north-east coast of Australia and New Zealand. However this was largely a precautionary measure and areas are now standing down without sign of significantly abnormal water.

Reports from neighbouring Papua New Guinea were that the tsunami reached the western cost of Bougainville at Torokina 8:30am this morning with waves of up to 2 meters. The waves were described as fairly gradual sort of roll and fall and there was not so much damage.

Some Japanese visitors in Bougainville are reportedly unharmed. Waves in the Buka Passage between the Bougainville mainland and Buka Island rose about a meter but not much damage there either.

The French Pacific territory of New Caledonia, which had placed a tsunami alert earlier Monday, has lifted the warning after only small waves were observed locally, especially on the main island`s Eastern coast and the North-eastern Loyalty islands.

No significant phenomenon has been observed at the estimated tsunami time of arrival, except for an abnormal withdrawal of the sea in some points, on the East coast of the Grande Terre (main island), the French High commission said.

The High commissioner has therefore decided to lift the tsunami alert, the statement goes on. New Caledonia is one of the island groups closest to the Solomon Islands, with Vanuatu in-between. The tsunami alert was issued for as far east as Fiji, but waters here remain calm.

The Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare was saddened by the destruction and loss of life caused by the earth quake and the subsequent Tsunami that crashed parts of Western and Choiseul Provinces.

“My heart goes out to all of you in this very trying time,” he said in nation wide address.

Mr Sogavare assured victims of the affected provinces that his government through the National Disaster Council and other agencies is fully committed to assist victims of the disaster.

A government team comprising government ministerial officials and the Red Cross Society were dispatched to set logistics at Munda in the Western Province to help with the coordination of logistical assistance.

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