Buildings damaged but no tsunami warning for Solomon Islands after 7.0 earthquake

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SYDNEY, Nov 22 (Reuters) – Authorities in the Solomon Islands said no tsunami warning would be issued after two powerful earthquakes struck on Tuesday, damaging Australia’s embassy and airport and causing blackouts current in the capital Honiara.

The first earthquake occurred offshore at a depth of 15 km (9 miles), about 16 km southwest of the Malango area, said the United States Geological Survey which initially pegged its magnitude at 7. 3 before revising it to 7.0.

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

“There are no known injuries but the roof of the High Commission annex has collapsed which would indicate likely damage across the city,” Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told parliament.

Honiara International Airport suffered ceiling damage but the building was intact, a Solomon Islands airline employee at the airport told Reuters by telephone.

The aftershocks continue to be felt, he said, declining to be named because he is not authorized to speak publicly. Airport staff would continue to work but the damaged section of the airport terminal was closed to passengers.

The Solomon Times newspaper reported that power had been cut across most of Honiara, as preliminary assessments of damage to power lines are made.

The Solomon Islands Meteorological Service said there was no threat of a tsunami, but warned of unusual sea currents.

“People are also advised to be vigilant as aftershocks are expected to continue,” one employee posted on social media.

Widespread power outages are being reported across the island, and the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation said on Facebook that all radio services were off the air.

The National Disaster Management Office said it had received reports that people had felt the quake but were awaiting reports of the damage.

“Residents of Honiara moved to higher ground within minutes of the earthquake, but some have now descended,” an official told Reuters by telephone.

Reporting by Kirsty Needham in Sydney and Akanksha Khushi in Bengaluru; Written by Alasdair Pal and Lewis Jackson; Editing by Tom Hogue and Stephen Coates

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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