3 Sep 2007

Eastern Solomons quake sees locals head for the hills

1:59 pm on 3 September 2007

Frightened residents have fled to higher ground in parts of east Solomon Islands during aftershocks of an earthquake of 6.9 magnitude yesterday.

The undersea quake struck just after midday local time at a depth of 35 kilometres, centred off the Santa Cruz islands in Temotu province.

The director of the National Disaster Management Office, Loti Yates, says that communication with the remote communities affected has mainly been by high-frequency radio.

No injuries have been reported and the structural damage from the quake is reported to be minimal.

But Mr Yates says that with the tsunami of April 2nd in the Western Province still a fresh memory, this quake has renewed community fear.

"I was on the radio until 9 last night and there were continuing aftershocks and what has happened is that people are very frightened to live in the coastal areas so a lot of the communities people are living in moving inland, up the hills, in fear of a possible tsunami or something. In fact there was small tsunami recorded in Santa Cruz and a small one also reached Makira."

Loti Yates