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Quake tsunami threat passes in Pacific

AAP logoAAP 8/12/2016 Tracey Ferrier

The tsunami threat from a major earthquake off the Solomon Islands has largely passed, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre says.

The quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 7.8, sparked a tsunami warning across a wide area of the South Pacific after it struck at a depth of about 49km at 4.38am on Friday.

But in updated advice, the US-based centre said all available data indicated the tsunami threat from the quake had since passed.

It had earlier warned of the potential for hazardous tsunami waves along some coasts of Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, New Caledonia, Tuvalu and Kosrae. Australia and New Zealand were never considered to be at risk.

Reports of collapsed houses in the Solomon Islands are beginning to emerge.

Loti Yates, from the National Disaster Management Office in the capital Honiara, has told the ABC there are reports of houses crumbling in parts of the country, including on the island of Makira, the largest in Makira-Ulawa province. "... some dwellings, houses etc have been collapsed due to the shake," he said, adding that communication was poor.

"(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."

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