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    Small tsunami hits Solomon Islands
    Powerful 8.0-magnitude earthquake evokes tidal waves in Pacific Ocean. Dozens of homes damaged; authorities fear multiple deaths

    A powerful earthquake off the Solomon Islands generated a tsunami of up to 1.5 meters that damaged dozens of homes and likely killed several people in the South Pacific island chain on Wednesday.


    Authorities canceled warnings for tsunamis on more distant coasts.


    Solomons officials reported two 1.5-meter waves hit the western side of Santa Cruz Island, damaging around 50 homes and properties, said George Herming, a spokesman for the prime minister. Many villagers had headed to higher ground as a precaution, Herming said.


    תוך שעות: יותר מ-20 רעידות אדמה בפסיפי (צילום: רויטרס)


    Solomon Islands Police Commissioner John Lansley said local police patrols had reported that several people were presumed dead, though the reports were still being verified.


    "Sadly, we believe some people have lost their lives," he said. "At the moment we potentially know of four, but there may of course be more."


    Four villages on Santa Cruz were impacted by the waves, with two facing severe damage, Lansley said. Other areas of the Solomons did not appear to have been seriously affected.


    The tsunami formed after an 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck near Lata on Santa Cruz in Temotu province, the easternmost province of the Solomons, about a 3-hour flight from the capital, Honiara. The region has a population of around 30,000 people.


    The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said a tsunami of about a meter (3 feet) was measured in Lata wharf, in the Solomon Islands. Smaller waves were recorded in Vanuatu and New Caledonia.


    The center later cancelled earlier warnings for tsunami waves further away.


    The Solomons comprise more than 200 islands with a population of about 552,000 people.


    The islands lie on the "Ring of Fire" – an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones that stretches around the Pacific Rim and where about 90 percent of the world's quakes occur.


    The US Geological Survey said the quake struck 81 kilometers west of Lata, at a depth of 5.8 kilometers.



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    Area of the quake
    Photo: Reuters