Pacific-wide tsunami warnings have been cancelled

At least two dead in Solomons tsunami

Updated 6 February 2013, 17:46 AEST

Pacific Beat

Solomon Islands police have confirmed that at least two people died in a tsunami on the remote Santa Cruz islands on Wednesday afternoon.

Cars bank up on McGregor Road in Fiji’s capital Suva as the public evacuate to higher ground during the tsunami warning on February 6 2013. (Credit: ABC licensed)

Solomon Islands police have confirmed that at least two people died in a tsunami on the remote Santa Cruz islands on Wednesday afternoon.

Emergency workers have begun assessing the damage caused on the islands after they were hit by the tsunami, which was triggered by a magnitude 8 earthquake.

Authorities say the wave has caused extensive damage to at least four villages on the islands.

Solomon Islands Police Commissioner, John Lansley, says the tsunami has affected villages on Santa Cruz islands and people are still missing.

“We understand a surge wave did affect three or four villages,” Mr Lansley told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat.

“We have some people missing and there is believed to be a few casualties. I’m hoping they will be a minimal number.”

Helicopters from the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) are helping to assess the damage, with emergency workers expected to arrive there tomorrow.

Pacific-wide tsunami warnings have been cancelled, but not before people on island nations across the region left for higher ground.

Traffic jams were reported in Honiara and Suva as people evacuated, while staff at the Australian High Commission in Honiara were moved to the high commissioner’s residence.

The Australian government’s detention centre on Manus Island was also evacuated, with staff and asylum seekers moved to higher ground as a precaution.

Boats and ships were also moved to open water, with an ocean liner departing from the Kingdom of Tonga an hour early to avoid any potential waves.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency says it expects a 20 cm tsunami to reach the country around 6pm AEST, but it did not merit a tsunami warning and people were not being asked to leave coastal areas.

Widespread Pacific tsunami warnings were triggered after a magnitude 8 earthquake struck just off the Santa Cruz islands at 12:12pm AEST, according to Geoscience Australia.

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2013-02-06/at-least-two-dead-in-solomons-tsunami/1084608

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