At least five people have been killed in a tsunami that swept across the western Solomon Islands after an 8.0-magnitude earthquake on February 6, though officials are still searching the rubble of wrecked homes for people unaccounted for.
Government officials of the South Pacific archipelago told The New York Times that fishing boats may also have been swept out to sea. The quake struck east of the Solomon Islands at about noon on February 6 (8:12 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on February 5) at a depth of 17.8 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The shallow nature of the quake is what generated tsunami waves that reached five feet high in some parts of the Solomon Islands, according to Fox News. They reached a good 1,600 feet inland, the New Zealand Herald reported, quoting the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Many of the wrecked homes were traditional style houses, the newspaper said.
The tsunami warning was issued in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, Kosrae, Fiji, Kiribati, and Wallis and Futuna, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. In addition American Samoa, Australia, Guam, the Northern Marianas, New Zealand and eastern Indonesia were put on tsunami watch. All warnings and watches had been canceled by 14:50 Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT), the New Zealand Herald reported, about two and a half hours after the temblor struck.