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Earthquake/Tsunami off Solomon Islands

Wednesday, 06 February 2013

Type of Event:
Earthquake/Ocean wave (Tsunami)
Location of Event:
The Solomon Islands
Date of Charter Activation:
06 February 2013
Charter Requestor:
UNITAR/UNOSAT on behalf of UNOCHA

Description of the event

A 0.8 magnitude earthquake which later triggered a tsunami measuring 0.9m (3ft), struck the Santa Cruz Islands at 01:12 GMT on Wednesday. The earthquake was followed by a series of 19 aftershocks with ranging magnitudes of 4.0 and 6.6. Five people were killed; four elderly and one child after a 1-meter (3-feet) high wave hit the Santa Cruz Island.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued warnings for Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. A Tsunami Watch alert had been sent out to New Zealand, Australia and Indonesia which were cancelled after two hours of being issued.

The main town of Lata, which is also known as Nendo, is the worst affected and has suffered the most damage. Several semi-permanent homes were flattened, and many more villages were affected.

Aid and supplies are slowly being flown in onto the Island, whilst authorities are still assessing the extent of the damage.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported that the earthquake had a depth of 28.7km (17.8 miles).

Earthquakes and tsunami's are prevalent on the Solomon Islands, in 2007 an 8.1 magnitude earthquake combined with a tsunami struck the Island which killed 52 people and left thousands more homeless. The Solomon Islands are volatile since it forms a part of the Ring of Fire encircling the Pacific basin.