Power outage as 7.0 magnitude quake hits Solomon Islands

Power outage as 7.0 magnitude quake hits Solomon Islands


A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the Solomon Islands on Tuesday. Eyewitnesses reported violent shaking that knocked objects onto the ground and cut power in parts of the capital, Honiara.

“It was a big deal,” Joy Nisha, receptionist at Heritage Park Hotel in the capital, Honiara, told AFP. “Some things in the hotel fell down. Everyone seems fine but panicking.”

An AFP reporter in Honiara said the shaking lasted about 20 seconds.

There were no immediate reports of serious structural damage, but power had gone out in some areas of the city and people were rushing out of their offices and fleeing to higher ground.

“I was really scared because it was the first time I felt this type of earthquake,” said a Pacific Casino Hotel executive, who asked not to be named.

“The building was shaking really badly,” she said. “It was really strong, it made you move from side to side.”

Dozens of employees and guests fled the building to the relative safety of the parking lot, hoping not to be hit by debris on their way out.

The nation’s attorney general, John Muria, posted images on social media of office files spilling out of several large metal filing cabinets.

– aftershocks –

The US Geological Survey downgraded the magnitude of the earthquake from an original 7.3.

The earthquake occurred at a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometers just off the southwest coast of the island of Guadalcanal.

A tsunami warning had been issued for an area of ??the Solomon Islands coast within 300 kilometers (185 miles) of the epicenter, but the United Nations-backed Pacific Warning Center later said the threat was “largely” over.

Solomon Islands authorities also said the tsunami threat had passed but urged caution.

“We are expecting aftershocks, so people should remain vigilant near buildings and tall structures because of the magnitude of the earthquake,” said David Hiba Hiriasia, director of the Solomon Islands Meteorological Service.

According to the UN, around 20,000 people live within a 50-kilometer radius of the epicenter.

About 800,000 people live in the Solomon Islands – a vast archipelago in the South Pacific.

The quake came exactly a year after anti-government riots that killed at least three people and caused damage in the tens of millions.

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