At least 30 dead in tsunami in the South Pacific

Drinking water shortage threatens disaster victims in the Solomon Islands

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At least 30 dead, 5, 400 homeless and many injured: This is the preliminary assessment after the devastating tsunami that hit the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific on 2 April 2007.


The five-meter high tidal wave had penetrated several hundred meters into the interior. Whole lines of scouring were destroyed and at least 900 houses were destroyed, a number of villages even disappeared completely into the water masses. Thousands of people were fortunate enough to escape to higher ground. Many inhabitants of the islands are still missing. Shortly after the tsunami, the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavare, declared a state of emergency.

But the tsunami also caused serious damage to property on the island of Bougainville, which belongs to Papua New Guinea. In contrast, in Australia, for whose shores a tsunami warning had been issued, it remained calm.

Heavy seaquake as a trigger

The tsunami was triggered by a seaquake off the coast of the archipelago. The quake, which occurred at 7:39 am local time on April 2, 2007, had a magnitude of 8.1 on the instant magnitude, according to the US Geological Survey in Denver. The epicenter of the quake lay 45 kilometers southeast of the local capital Gizo at a depth of ten kilometers. display

In the last few days there have been numerous aftershocks in the region - sometimes with a magnitude of more than 6 on the moment magnitude - which made the search and rescue work in some cases considerably more difficult. Many hundreds of people have spent the last few nights out of fear of further earthquakes.

Acute drinking water shortage

The drinking water supply has now developed into a massive problem. In the region around the provincial capital, Giro, which was hit hardest by the earthquake and tsunami, several thousand people are still waiting for drinking water and other supplies such as food and tents. Local rescuers led by the Australian Army fear the outbreak of dangerous diseases.

Three days after the disaster, the situation on many small, remote islands of the archipelago, which can often only be reached by boat, is also unclear. There, the authorities and helpers expect further deaths.

(USGS /, 05.04.2007 - DLO)