Solomon Islands Tsunami Update: 6 Confirmed Dead, Thousands Displaced, At Least 400 Homes Destroyed

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | February 7, 2013 4:07 PM EST

At least six people have died and thousands more were displaced by the tsunami that struck the Solomon Islands on Wednesday, just a few hours after it experienced a powerful 8.0 magnitude undersea earthquake.

The casualties were five elderly villagers and a child. But the number could still increase.

"There are signs that there might be increases in the number of casualties," Cameron Vudi, Red Cross disaster manager, told the AFP.

"There are still reports coming in. Most of the reports are confined to areas that are accessible by road but there are a lot more communities that have been damaged."

The number of people displaced by the metre-high tsunami were placed at 3,000, while initial reports indicated at least 460 homes had been destroyed, as per figures estimated by Mr Vudi.

The islands up till now continue to feel aftershocks.

"People are still scared of going back to their homes because there's nothing left, so they are residing in temporary shelters on higher ground," George Herming, a spokesman for the prime minister, said.

"In the Solomon Islands when we talk about villages there can be anything from 10 to 30 houses,'' Joanne Zoleveke, Solomon Islands Red Cross secretary general, said.

Adding more insult to injury is the current state of the airstrip in Lata, the island's main town, which was littered with debris as a result of the tsunami, ultimately causing a problem for relief workers to reach the region by air.

"The airport is being cleared by some workers, by the end of today the airport would be clear of all the debris so people are now working on it and any time tomorrow or the following day airplanes should be landing," Temotu Province Premier Father Charles Brown Beu said.

Read more:

Tsunami Warning Up in Philippines, NZ, Other Nations in South Pacific

Solomon Islands Earthquake Update: Casualties Feared Rising as Tsunami Hits Coastal Villages

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