Solomon Islands Earthquake Update: Casualties Feared Rising as Tsunami Hits Coastal Villages
By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | February 6, 2013 5:29 PM EST
At least three villages in the Solomon Islands are believed to have experienced damages and casualties brought by a 0.9m high tsunami that was triggered by an 8.0 magnitude undersea earthquake that struck the islands earlier in the day on Wednesday.
John Lansley, Solomon Islands Police Commissioner, was quoted by the ABC that the tsunami, expected by the public to occur anytime soon after the quake struck, has affected villages on Santa Cruz islands and that some people were missing.
"We understand a surge wave did affect three or four villages," Mr Lansley said.
"We have some people missing and there is believe to be a few casualties. I'm hoping they will be a minimal number."
Although people at the islands were able to somehow evacuate to higher grounds and stash their properties safely, time was still short on their side when the expected tsunami struck.
As of presstime, the exact possible damages as well as number of missing people have yet to be determined. Authorities and emergency workers such as the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) have yet to fly into the tsunami-hit islands tomorrow Thursday to get a better grip of the scene.
It was in 2007 when the Solomons last experienced a devastating tsunami following an 8.1 magnitude quake. It destroyed more than 13 villages, killed 50 people and left dozens.
The Solomons has more than 200 islands with a current population placed at about 552,000 people.
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