Friday, 17 August 2007 8:00 AM

6.7 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Honiara

An earthquake, measuring 6.7 on the Richter Scale, hit the capital Honiara at about 20 minutes to 8 last night.

Unconfirmed reports indicate that the earthquake was located 73 kilometres south west of Honiara.

A tentative report from the Police Media has stated that they are still trying to establish communications with villages on the Weathercoast. The report stated that at this stage there have been no reports of damage or casualties.

Settlements along the coast line of the Mataniko river mouth have been evacuated shortly after the earthquake in fear of a possible tsunami. A number of small aftershocks have prompted many to voluntarily move to higher ground. The National Disaster Council stated on the SIBC that safety precautions are necessary given the strength of the tremor.

Police patrols are reporting that there are no casualties reported at this stage and no visible damage in the capital Honiara. There have been no reports from the Weathercoast which is where the earthquake was centered.

Earthquakes of this size sometimes generate local tsunamis that can be destructive along coasts located within a hundred kilometers of the earthquake epicenter. Authorities within the Region have been warned by the Pacific Tsunami Center of this possibility and to take appropriate action.

Participating Police Force Commander, Denis McDermott, has reported that all Police and Military personnel are on standby should their support be required.

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