A powerful earthquake off the Solomon Islands yesterday generated a tsunami of up to 1.5 metres (about 5 feet) that damaged dozens of homes and left at least four people missing and presumed dead in the South Pacific island chain.
Authorities cancelled tsunami warnings on more distant coasts.
Local officials reported that two 1.5-metre (4 foot, 11-inch) waves hit the western side of Santa Cruz Island, damaging between 70 and 80 homes and properties, said George Herming, a spokesman for the prime minister. Many villagers had headed to higher ground as a precaution, he said.
Dozens of aftershocks stronger than magnitude 5 followed the quake.
Solomon Islands Police Com-missioner John Lansley said local police patrols reported that several people were presumed dead, though the reports were still being verified.
"Sadly, we believe some people have lost their lives," he said. "At the moment we potentially know of four, but there may of course be more."
One of the persons presumed dead was fishing in a dugout canoe when the first wave hit, sweeping him out to sea, Herming said. Officials were searching for his body. Another woman was believed to have drowned when the water rushed into her village, Herming said.