Powerful earthquakes hit Solomon Islands

Satellite imagery of the November 22 earthquakes in Solomon Islands (Photo: USGS)

Damaged buildings and widespread power outages have been reported in the Solomon Islands’ capital, Honiara, after two earthquakes occurred off the southwest coast of Guadalcanal Province on Tuesday. 

The first magnitude 7.0 earthquake briefly triggered a tsunami warning from the United States Geological Survey, but this warning was withdrawn soon after. 

A second quake, with a magnitude of 6.0, struck nearby 30 minutes later. 

Power was out in some areas of Honiara and Solomon Islands Broadcasting said in a statement that all radio services were off air. 

People reported violent shaking that threw televisions and other items to the ground.

Australian prime minister, Anthony Albanese, told The Guardian the roof of the Australian high commission annexe in Honiara had collapsed, “which points to likely damage throughout the city”. 

“We have contacted Prime Minister Sogavare to once again indicate Australia stands ready to assist.

Many moved to higher grounds in case of a tsunami causing traffic chaos on the ridges.

“This was the first time I have experienced such a strong earthquake,” a mother at Henderson told the Solomon Star. “I ran with my child outside thinking it would stop after a few seconds like other earthquakes I have experienced before but it kept going and getting stronger and stronger.

“We will return when things quieten down.

“It will be safer to go to the hills than stay at our homes tonight.

Only minor injuries related to the earthquake were reported at the National Referral Hospital.

Solomon Islands’ Geological Survey Division advises that people remain vigilant as they closely monitor the situation. Aftershocks are expected to continue for sometime but it is very unlikely to be of the size of the tremors experienced on Tuesday.

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