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Tsunami warning off Solomon Islands canceled

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-02-06 15:35

SYDNEY - The tsunami alert off the Solomon Islands after a monster earthquake has been canceled at 3 pm AEDT Wednesday by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC), with five deaths so far.

Three villages at the epicenter have been flooded by the tsunami followed after the quake, meanwhile a female resident got her arm fractured as she failed to evacuate in time. A local broadcasting corporation reported that Lata Hospital in the Solomon Islands has confirmed there have been five deaths so far as a result of the tsunami.

"No tsunami threat exists for other coastal areas although some may experience small sea level changes," PTWC said in statement posted online.

Zhang Wenwei, Manager of the Pacific Casino Hotel at Honiara, the capital of the island state told Xinhua that, "My staff and customers evacuated to higher ground when tsunami alert granted, now they've returned safely after the cancellation of the alert."

Tsunami alert also has been canceled for countries including the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, Kosrae, Fiji, Kiribati, Wallis and Futuna. But local residents are still advised to stay away from the beach and wait for further information.

Tan Jingquan, a Chinese businessman currently at Honiara, the capital of the island state, told Xinhua that "I called my friends in the center of the disaster. He said that numbers of stores and residences near the earthquake epicenter have been flooded. But Honiara is not affected badly due to the long distance away from the epicenter. There is no report yet about death and wounded."

A tsunami of around 90 centimeters was recorded in Lata, while smaller waves hit in Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

Local police said that several Solomon Islands villages had been destroyed by the quake.

The tsunami warning also covers Fiji, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, Kosrae, Kiribati, and Wallis and Futuna. Fiji's Seismology Observatory in conjunction of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center is issuing respective bulletins for every thirty minutes until cancellation.

A magnitude 8.0 quake struck at the Santa Cruz Islands on Wednesday, which are part of the South Pacific nation of Solomon Islands, from a depth of 5.8 kilometers.

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