The Solomon Islands were rocked by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake on Tuesday, prompting residents to flee to higher ground.
The Australian embassy, airport and shopping malls were damaged. The quake also caused power outages in the capital, Honiara.
Solomon Islands government spokesman George Herming said he was in his office on the second floor of a building in the capital city of Honiara when the quake hit the city.
“It’s a huge one that just surprised everyone,” he said.
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“We have tables and desks and books and everything scattered all over the place as a result of the earthquake, but there is no major damage to the structure or the buildings,” Herming continued.
The spokesman said Solomon Islands does not have large high-rise buildings that could be vulnerable to an earthquake, noting that there was some panic in the city and traffic jams as people tried to drive to higher ground.
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The quake’s epicenter was in the ocean about 35 miles or 56 kilometers southwest of Honiara at a depth of 8 miles or 13 kilometers, the US Geological Survey said.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center initially warned of possible dangerous waves for the area, but later downgraded the tsunami warning.
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The Solomon Islands are located on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc along the edge of the Pacific Ocean where volcanic eruptions and earthquakes are most frequent.
Associated Press contributed to this report.