Sat, 10 December 2016
Last Updated: Sat, 10 Dec 2016 10am
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Australia ready to give help

AUSTRALIA’S Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says her government is ready to provide any support once requested in relation to Friday’s 7.8 earthquake that stuck off Kirakira, Makira-Ulawa Province.

"The Australian Government has in place pre-positioned supplies for shelter, water, sanitation, food," Ms Bishop said.

"If they're required we can work with the local authorities and with the government of Solomon Islands to provide that,” she told Radio Australia.

Authorities in Honiara are still waiting to hear from a helicopter sent to Makira to survey the island yesterday.

Kirakira resident Edith Haunagi, said there was some damage when the quake struck.

"Everybody got up from their beds and everybody ran out from their houses and at the same time everybody moved up to the hillside while it was still shaking, a few of the houses here fell this morning," Ms Haunagi said.

"Two of the buildings here in Kirakira fell right down to the ground and most of the things in the shops were damaged and people were scared.

"They were running here and there trying to find their kids."

Ms Haunagi said she had contacted people on the southern side of the island, closest to the quake.

"They have said there was a sea rise this morning after the earthquake and a few houses were damaged," she said.

"People ran up to the hillside. There were no reports of deaths but there were reports of damage to properties and buildings that were close to the beach."

The quake struck at 4:38am AEDT at a depth of roughly 48 kilometres, USGS said — it was initially reported to be of magnitude-8.0.

Loti Yates from the National Disaster Management Office told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat program there had been reports of houses collapsing due to the quake.

"Already there [is] information coming in from Makira as well as parts of Solomon Islands not within the tsunami threat area, [that] confirm some dwellings, houses etc have been collapsed due to the shake," he said.

Mr Yates said poor communication infrastructure had made it hard to assess the immediate impact in Makira.

"[One community] that has been in touch with us said they are calling from up the hills, which is good, they activated their own emergency plans and know what to do, so we are happy.

"The warning has been issued ... at this stage, communication difficulties are hampering our ability to get clear information."

He told the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation there had been reports of landslides in Temotu and Makira provinces.


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