A tsunami warning, which has now been lifted, was issued after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Solomon Islands during the day. There have been no reports of deaths or injuries. But people in the island nation's capital Honiara reported significant shaking and tremors that went on for around 20 seconds.
According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake's epicentre was in the ocean about 56 km southwest of Honiara, at a depth of 13 km. As such, the US Tsunami Warning System issued a tsunami warning for the coasts of the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu.
It said there may be minor sea level fluctuations of up to 0.3 meters above and below the normal tide over the next few hours; the warning has been withdrawn.
People Ran Out of Buildings
The jolt prompted people to ran out of shaking buildings and caused power outages.
George Herming, government spokesperson, said he was in his office on the second floor of the building in the capital Honiara when the earthquake rocked the city. He shared that he crawled under his desk. "It's a huge one that just shocked everybody," Herming said. "We have tables and desks, books and everything scattered all over the place as a result of the earthquake, but there's no major damage to structure or buildings." He added that initially there was some panic around the town and traffic jams as everybody tried to drive to higher ground.
Charley Piringi, a freelance journalist, said he was standing outside a warehouse next to a primary and a secondary school on the outskirts of Honiara when the quake struck, sending the children running. "The earthquake rocked the place. It was a huge one. We were all shocked, and everyone is running everywhere."
Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese said the roof of the Australian High Commission annex in Honiara had collapsed, suggesting likely damage throughout the capital. "We have already contacted Solomon Islands prime minister Sogavare to once again indicate that Australia stands ready to assist." Albanese said the staff of the Australian High Commission were safe, but shared that the safety of all Australians in Solomon Islands was difficult as telecommunications had been disrupted.
The Solomon Islands earthquake follows Indonesia's devastating quake that claimed the lives of 162 people and left hundreds injured yesterday on the main island of Java.