Dangerous waves are heading to some coasts in the South Pacific after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit close to the Solomon Islands early Friday, forecasters said.
“Based on all available data, hazardous tsunami waves are forecast for some coasts,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
The earthquake hit less than 30 kilometers off the island of Makira — and 70 kilometers southwest of the island’s city of Kirakira — about 4:38 a.m. local time Friday (12:38 p.m. ET Thursday), the US Geological Survey said.
Few reports have come in from the Solomon Islands, where the earthquake has reportedly caused widespread blackouts, knocked out phone systems and even caused the tsunami warning system to go down.
Loti Yates, from the National Disaster Management Office in the capital Honiara, told the ABC that there had been reports of houses collapsing due to the quake.
Mr Yates said poor communication infrastructure had made it hard to assess the immediate impact.
“[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,” he said.
“The warning has been issued … at this stage, communication difficulties are hampering our ability to get clear information.”