2 Apr 2007

Two deaths reported after Solomons quake

1:33 pm on 2 April 2007

Two people have reportedly died after this morning's large earthquake in Solomon Islands.

The earthquake of 7.8 magnitude on the Richter Scale struck at around 7:30am Solomons time 10 kilometres deep and around 25 kilometres from Gizo, the capital of Western province.

The Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation says that two people are confirmed dead and a further four are reported missing.

The SIBC's Charles Tennat says the damage in Gizo is extensive with a number of buildings destroyed and the town's shorefront battered by high waves.

He says the sea water has crippled the Gizo's phone lines and electricity as well as the town's financial and commercial areas.

"Because all the shops and the government and private offices are located near the shoreline. And the Western Provincial government has advised its workers not to go to work this morning because of the offices being flooded with water. About ten houses are reported to have been swept away to the sea. One resort is reported to have submerged."

The authorities in New Caledonia have lifted the tsunami warning.

They say a small wave reached the territory as anticipated.

A warning is still in place in Vanuatu which will be reviewed this afternoon.