A strong earthquake hit the Solomon Islands on Wednesday. It was 8.0 on the Richter scale and was followed 40 minutes later by a 7.0 earthquake. This was only 10km deep. There was a small tsunami – about 1.5 metres high – which killed some elderly people and a small child.
New Zealand officials gave a tsunami warning to parts of New Zealand, especially the west coast. They expected a tsunami could reach New Zealand in 5 to 6 hours but that did not happen.
There have been many after-shocks in Solomon Islands since the first earthquake. This morning’s after-shock was 6.6 and caused a lot more damage. There are more than 200 islands in the Solomons and communication is difficult. There is probably damage to telephones. Boat travel is dangerous if there is a risk of tsunami. Also the airport at the capital Honiara was closed by flooding.
John Key has offered money and help. The islands are in the Pacific Ocean, north-west of New Zealand and east of Papua New Guinea. About 550,000 people live on these islands.
• Richter scale – one way of measuring the strength of an earthquake; 8.0 is very strong
• tsunami – very high waves caused by an earthquake
• reach – get to
• communication – contact between people by talking, mail, email, etc
• risk – danger