Saturday, December 10, 2016

Solomon Islands shaken by second earthquake in two days

The Solomon Islands were rattled by a 6.9 magnitude earthquake on Saturday, a day after hundreds of people along the coast fled into the hills following a 7.8 magnitude tremor.
The latest quake initially triggered a fresh tsunami warning for the Solomons but that was lifted by authorities a short time later. No deaths were reported.
There were reports of damage to homes in remote areas, potentially affecting hundreds of people, but Suzy Sainovski, World Vision’s Pacific Timor-Leste spokeswoman, said it had been hard to get a full assessment from some more remote communities that did not have mobile phone coverage.
“There are some initial reports that 3,000 people have been affected,” Sainovski said. “Some of these are traditional houses that are on stilts, and made with vegetation.”

The quake struck near the island of Makira. Sainovski said in the town of Kirakira on the island, the quake damaged a hospital, a church and other buildings including the World Vision office. She said 20 people were evacuated from a hospital.
She said the quake had caused some power failures throughout the country.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake happened 10km deep (six miles).
Micha Maghe, World Vision’s water sanitation and health project coordinator in Kirakira, said the quake had been terrifying.
“When I got outside I could hear children crying, people shouting,” she said in a statement. “We assembled at a school and I saw people moving towards high ground … People just panicked and were frightened.”
Sainovski said there continued to be a number of aftershocks and power cuts.
The Solomon Islands have been hit by a series of aftershocks since Friday’s initial major quake that struck 130 km (80 miles) from the capital, Honiara.
That first powerful quake in the early hours of Friday triggered a series of tsunami alerts across the region, sending hundreds of people in the Solomons scrambling to higher ground.
Hundreds of people in southern Makira province, closest to the epicentre, spent Friday night in the hills.
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