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Powerful quake rocks Solomon Islands, rattles Pacific nation with initial Tsunami warning

Residents stay in the open in downtown of Honiara on 22 November, 2022, as people rushed from their offices and fleeing to higher ground after a strong earthquake. (Via AFP)

A powerful magnitude 7.0 earthquake has struck the Solomon Islands, sending people out into the streets and knocking out power in the capital city of Honiara.

According to the US Geological Survey, the island was hit by two quakes within half an hour. The first one hit at a shallow depth of 10 kilometers under the sea, just off the southwest coast of Guadalcanal island.

The first quake briefly triggered a tsunami warning but the warning was later withdrawn.

The second quake struck thirty minutes later with a magnitude of 6.0, south-west of the capital Honiara.

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. Solomon Islands Broadcasting said in a statement on Facebook that all radio services were turned off air. 

Solomon Islands government spokesperson George Herming said he was in his office on the second floor of a building in the capital, Honiara, when the quake rocked the city. 

“It's a huge one that just shocked everybody,” Herming said. “We have tables and desks, books and everything scattered all over the place as a result of the earthquake, but there's no major damage to structure or buildings."

Herming said the Solomon Islands, which is home to about 700,000 people, doesn't have any high-rise buildings that might be vulnerable to a quake. 

According to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, the earthquake may produce waves of up to one meter above tide levels for Solomon Islands.

Smaller waves of thirty centimeters have been forecasted for the coasts of Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu.

The Solomon Islands sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean rim where many volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur and home to 800,000 people.

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