Solomon Islands: 7.0 magnitude earthquake strikes Pacific nation

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An earthquake of 7.0 magnitude has struck the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean, near the south-west region of Malango.

No injuries or deaths have been reported yet, but people in the capital Honiara reported significant shaking and tremors for around 20 seconds.

Amid immediate warnings of a tsunami, the prime minister’s office advised locals to move to higher ground.

However, the islands’ meteorological service later dropped the warning.

A separate authority, the US-supported Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, also said the threat had largely passed.

The quake hit just after 13:00 local time (02:00 GMT), at a depth of 15km (9 miles) and 18km south-west of the coast according to the US Geological Survey.

It caused power outages and prompted some in Honiara to rush out of buildings.

“The building was really violently shaking,” a hotel manager told the AFP news agency. “It was really strong, it made you move side to side.”

The Solomon Islands’ attorney-general published pictures on Twitter of overflowing filing cabinets and documents scattered on the floor after the quake.

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The quake was followed by at least three aftershocks in the same area, with the largest ranked at a 6.0 magnitude.

The director of the Solomon Islands Meteorological Service, David Hiba Hiriasia, has urged locals to remain cautious due to expected aftershocks, and to stay alert around tall structures.

It comes after an earthquake hit Indonesia’s main island of Java on Monday, killing scores of people and injuring hundreds.

The Solomon Islands and Indonesia sit on the “ring of fire” area of tectonic activity in the Pacific.

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