The Solomon Islands were rocked by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday, prompting residents to flee to higher ground.
The Australian embassy, airport and shopping malls were damaged. The quake also caused power outages in the capital, Honiara.
Solomon Islands government spokesman George Herming said he was in his office on the second floor of a building in the capital Honiara when the earthquake hit the city.
“It’s huge that it shocked everyone,” he said.
DOZENS DEAD AFTER EARTHQUAKE WHICH DISCOVERS THE MAIN ISLAND OF JAVA IN INDONESIA
“We have tables and desks and books and stuff scattered all over the place because of the earthquake, but there’s no major damage to the structure or buildings,” Herming continued.
The spokesman said the Solomon Islands does not have large high-rise buildings that could be vulnerable to an earthquake and noted that there was some panic around the city and traffic jams as people tried to drive to high ground.
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The earthquake’s epicenter was in the ocean about 56 kilometers, or 35 miles, southwest of Honiara, at a depth of 13 kilometers, or 8 miles, according to the US Geological Survey.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center initially warned of possible waves dangerous to the area, but later downgraded a tsunami warning.
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The Solomon Islands are located on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, an arc along the edge of the Pacific Ocean where volcanic eruptions and earthquakes are most frequent.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.