The Solomon Islands were rocked by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday, prompting residents to flee for higher ground.
Australia’s embassy, the airport and shopping malls were damaged. The quake also triggered power outages in the capital, Honiara.
Solomon Islands government spokesperson George Herming said he was in his office on the second floor of a building in the capital city of Honiara when the earthquake hit the city.
“It’s a huge one that just shocked everyone,” he said.
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“We have tables and desks, books and everything scattered all over the place as a result of the earthquake, but there’s no major damage to structure or buildings,” Herming continued.
The spokesperson said the Solomon Islands does not have any big high-rise buildings that could be vulnerable to an earthquake and noted that there was some panic around the town and traffic jams as people attempted to drive to higher 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, the US Geological Survey said.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center initially warned of possible hazardous waves for the area but later downgraded a tsunami warning.
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The Solomon Islands is located on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc along the Pacific Ocean rim where volcanic eruptions and earthquakes are more frequent.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.