News / Asia

Villages Feared Lost as Tsunami Hits South Pacific

Phil Mercer
— A tsunami has struck the eastern Solomon Islands after a powerful earthquake that briefly triggered warnings for several South Pacific nations. The magnitude 8.0 quake near the Santa Cruz Islands is reported to have destroyed at least three villages.  Officials in the Solomon Islands say there may be casualties.

The U.S. Geological Survey says a tsunami measuring 0.9 meters hit the town of Lata in the Santa Cruz Island chain in the eastern part of the Solomon Islands.

Officials say the wave swept half a kilometer inland, destroying homes and sending panicked residents fleeing to higher ground.


View Larger Map

Tsunami warnings were also issued across the South Pacific, including Vanuatu, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, Fiji and Kiribati, but later cancelled.

Solomon Islands Police Commissioner John Lansley says authorities are trying to establish how much damage the tsunami has caused.

“We believe that three, possibly four villages have been affected," said Lansley. "The severity we are not clear about and I do not want to speculate, but we are doing our utmost to establish a little bit more information about the effects of the surge wave.  We also are not clear on casualties, although we believe there may be casualties.”

A powerful aftershock has raised even more concerns across the Solomon Islands, an archipelago east of Papua New Guinea that is home to 600,000 people.

Andrew Catford, from the charity World Vision, who is based in the capital Honiara, says his staff in the worst hit area were almost knocked off their feet by the earthquake.

“They could feel a really serious shake.  There has been a series of them in the last week or two, but this was a particularly strong one and then it was fairly quickly followed probably, within about five or ten minutes, by this fairly large surge from the sea, which covered the runway which is very low-lying close to the coast,” said Catford.   

The Solomon Islands are part of the so-called "Ring of Fire," a zone of volcanoes and oceanic trenches that circle the Pacific basin.  It includes Japan, Indonesia and New Zealand, which experience thousands of earthquakes each year.  Most are minor.

In 2007, an 8.1 magnitude earthquake unleashed a tsunami that killed more than 50 people in the Solomon Islands and left thousands of others homeless.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid