An 8.0-magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami that sent massive waves crashing into several South Pacific islands, killing at least six people in a remote part of the Solomon Islands Wednesday.
The quake struck 340 km (211 miles) east of Kira Kira in the Solomon Islands and a subsequent tsunami measuring 0.9 meters (three feet) destroyed at least 100 homes in the community of Lata on the remote Santa Cruz Island, part of Temotu Province of the Solomons, the New York Times reported.
More than three dozen aftershocks up to magnitude 6.6 hit the region following the quake, Reuters reported citing the U.S. Geological Survey.
Disaster officials in Honiara, the capital city of the Solomon Islands, told the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corp. that they believed that six people were dead and five villages were badly affected.
By late Wednesday, water was still knee deep in parts of Lata, news agency reports citing emergency workers in the worst-hit areas said.
Water and electricity supply was also disrupted in the township, which is the capital of Temoto Province.
Solomon Islands Police Commissioner John Lansley said authorities were trying to establish how much damage the tsunami had caused.
“We believe that three, possibly four villages have been affected," Lansley was quoted as saying by the Voice of America. "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.”
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said it had issued warnings for the Solomon Islands and other South Pacific nations including Australia and New Zealand. Warnings for the outlying regions were later cancelled.
Japan’s Meteorological Agency Wednesday issued tsunami advisories to Pacific coastal area from Hokkaido to Kyushu and Okinawa Prefecture following the quake.
The maximum height of the tsunami along the Pacific coast was likely to be about 50 centimeters, the agency said.