Second quake hits Solomon Islands

A man stands near the ruins of a house damaged by an earthquake at Malaita province on the Solomon Islands in a handout photo on Dec 9, 2016.
A man stands near the ruins of a house damaged by an earthquake at Malaita province on the Solomon Islands in a handout photo on Dec 9, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY • The Solomon Islands has dispatched emergency supplies to areas affected by a 6.9- magnitude aftershock yesterday, a day after a much larger tremor triggered a tsunami warning that sent hundreds of coastal people fleeing into the hills.

Solomon Islands Red Cross general secretary Joanne Zoleveke said the supply boat could take almost 24 hours to reach Makira Island, which lies close to the epicentre of Friday's deeper 7.8-magnitude earthquake.

Both quakes triggered tsunami warnings which were lifted a short time later.

"We are working with the National Disaster Office of the government and we've mobilised our emergency response teams to accompany the government officers and other international non-governmental organisations that are going on this boat," Ms Zoleveke said.

The Solomons, a country of nearly 1,000 islands, lies some 2,000km north-east of Australia in the Pacific Ocean.

Ms Zoloveke said based on reports received by two-way radio, Friday's quake caused significant damage and forced people from homes in the town of Kirakira on Makira Island, about 200km from the Pacific Island nation's capital of Honiara.

She said she knew of only one reported casualty, a 25-year-old with non-specific injuries. The remoteness of the region and the failure of communications meant it was impossible to know the full extent of any injuries or damage, she said.

Australia has provided A$50,000 (S$71,500) worth of supplies and a helicopter to undertake an initial assessment of affected areas to help target relief efforts, Ms Zoloveke added.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 11, 2016, with the headline 'Second quake hits Solomon Islands'. Print Edition | Subscribe