6 Feb 2013

Casualty feared in Solomons tsunami

6:20 pm on 6 February 2013

The Solomon Islands police commissioner John Lansley says there are fears that there may be some casualties as a result of a tsunami which affected Temotu province.

A major 8.0 magnitude undersea earthquake off Solomon Islands sparked a tsunami warning for several Pacific island nations but appears to have had the biggest impact around the Santa Cruz region in Solomon Islands.

John Lansley says a surge wave caused damaged to at least three or four villages in the Lata region in the Temotu province but they don't know yet to what extent.

He says they believe the Makira province was also affected but their biggest concern is for the people in Temotu.

"We do believe there may be some casualties but the extent of the casualties we are not able to relate yet, still being assessed. We do not believe there have been casualties other than in Temotu province."

John Lansley says members of the Regional Assistance Mission RAMSI are tying to assess damage in affected regions by air.

The accountant at Lata Hospital, Moses Mekupe, says several people have been admitted with injuries after the earthquake and tsunami.

Speaking three hours after the quake he said tremors were continuing and most people had moved inland.

He told our reporter about the initial quake.

All of us were in our offices. Suddenly the earthquake strikes and it runs about five minutes and then a tsunami later hits areas around Lata.

Mr Mekupe says the tsunami came immediately after the quake.

He says while Lata was not damaged there has been destruction in coastal communities near the main town.

The impact was some communities or houses swept away, near communities, but far communities we are still to hear information.

Mr Mekupe says there have been three admissions to hospital.

At the moment three injuries. One with a broken arm and the other two with broken legs.