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Solomon Islands Suffer Tsunami

By doina — last modified Apr 03, 2007 07:36 AM

Published: 2007-04-03 07:36:15
Topics: Environment
Countries: Papua New Guinea , Solomon Islands

A powerful earthquake caused a tsunami wave to wreak havoc in the western part of the Solomon Islands on Monday April 2nd. At least 20 people have been killed with the number set to rise; there are also 5 unconfirmed deaths in Papua New Guinea.

Worst hit was the island of Gizo where a 16 foot wave hit Gizo town and caused widespread destruction as it swept inland. Thousands of people have been affected by the disaster and food is in short supply. News is still coming in from remoter villages where the full extent of destruction is not yet known.

The earthquake was measured by the U.S. Geological Survey at magnitude 8.1 and began early on Monday morning deep beneath the sea floor about 25 miles from Gizo. This is the strongest quake to hit the Solomons for some thirty years; the archipelago lies on the Pacific so-called “Ring of Fire” an area of volcanos and fault lines with frequent earthquakes.

The UN and Red Cross is preparing to send assistance, while nearby Australia is making available helicopters to reach areas otherwise only accessible by boat.