Quake in Solomon Islands poses no threat to NZ

Newstalk ZB Staff, AAP,
Publish Date
Fri, 9 Dec 2016, 7:05am
(Photo/ Kesaya Baba)
(Photo/ Kesaya Baba)

Quake in Solomon Islands poses no threat to NZ

Newstalk ZB Staff, AAP,
Publish Date
Fri, 9 Dec 2016, 7:05am

UPDATED: 10.51AM Reports of collapsed houses in the Solomon Islands are beginning to emerge.

Its National Disaster Management Office in the capital Honiara, has told the ABC there are reports of houses crumbling in parts of the country.

The magnitude 7.7 quake hit 63km south-west of Kirakira, at a depth of about 49-kilometres and hit just before 6.40 this morning.

There's been a 5.5 aftershock in the same area, just after 7am New Zealand time.

New Zealand Red Cross worker Donna Collins has taken to the hills after being woken by the quake around 4.40am Solomons' time.

She's still on the hillside, almost five hours later, waiting for the all clear.

Ms Collins said it's been hard to get information about how much damage the quake may have caused - but one of her companions has had reports of damage to a village on the nearby island of Makira - caused by the sea washing in.

Solomon Islands National Disaster Management Office director Loti Yates confirmed he had received reports of collapsed buildings in villages in Makira, the island closest to the epicentre of the massive undersea quake, which had initially prompted a tsunami watch as far afield as Hawaii.

"Villages that we have made contact with have evacuated, actually most of the communities that we have spoken with had already evacuated," Yates said.

"They called us from the hills, which is good."

Yates said he had not received any reports of deaths.

Kesaya Baba from Volunteer Services Abroad is in the Solomons capital Honiara.

She said the earthquake felt violent.

"The shaking went on for what felt like over a minute, but it's hard to tell in those circumstances. I immediately got under the bed" she said.

A hospital in the Solomons capital Honiara said they're waiting for more information from the country's disaster relief centre, but is not aware of any damage or injuries at this stage.   

James Samani, duty manager at the Solomon Kitano Mendana Hotel in the capital Honiara, said the earthquake was strongly felt but the hotel was not damaged.

"We felt it big and strong in Honiara, but at the moment here in the hotel all the guests are in the lobby," Samani said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said widespread hazardous waves are possible.

It's listing Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, New Caledonia and Tuvalu on top of Solomon Islands.

An initial tsunami watch alert for Hawaii had earlier been cancelled.

New Zealand Civil Defence earlier issued a possible tsunami threat warning for beaches and marine areas on all coasts and the Chatham Islands.

After further assessment, it has now cancelled the threat.

However, it is still warning people to stay out of the water for the rest of the day, particularly on the west coast of New Zealand.

"There could be strong and unusual currents for the rest of the day," it said.

"We advise precaution to people who need to conduct activities in or on the water today, especially along the west coast of both the North and South Islands."

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology's Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre said there is no tsunami risk to the Australian mainland, islands or territories.

The Solomon Islands are about 3700km north of New Zealand.