8 Feb 2013

6.6 aftershock in Solomons will not trigger tsunami

9:34 am on 8 February 2013

The Pacific Tsunami Centre says there is little chance a large 6.6 aftershock in Solomon Islands will generate a tsunami.

Nine people died during a power 8.0 magnitude earthquake off the Santa Cruz island group two days ago.

It triggered a tsunami which damaged Temotu's airport in Lata and cut off villages.

A geophysicist at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawai'i, Barry Hishorn, says there has been several aftershocks and foreshocks, the latest a six-point-six magnitude.

"It was quite shallow, it was probably in the order of 10 or 15 kilometres under surface which is shallow for these events, so if it had been larger and the same depth it could have produced a tsunami."

Mr Hishorn says whether a larger aftershock could produce more damage to the islands is not known.

The non governmental organisation, World Vision, says people in already damaged communities were shaken by the latest aftershock which prompted many to flee to higher ground.

A spokesperson for World Vision, Jared Berends, who is in the Capital Honiara, says between 15 and 20 villages have been badly damaged by this week's 8.0 earthquake and tsunami.

He says teams are assessing communities where houses have either been washed away, or destroyed.

We've got to address the immediate needs of people, so that's going to be food, shelter and water this time and then we will start to look deeper in trying to rebuild peoples houses and rebuild community water systems as well.

Jared Berends says there are still people who are missing but World Vision cannot confirm the exact numbers of those unaccounted