At least four people were killed after a powerful 8.0 magnitude quake struck near the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific today, triggering a small tsunami, Reuters reports. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued, but later canceled, warnings for other South Pacific islands, Australia, and New Zealand. Two waves measuring just less than five feet hit the Solomons' Santa Cruz Island, striking four villages and severely damaging two, reports the AP.
Disaster officials were struggling to reach the remote area after the tsunami flooded the airstrip at the nearest airport and left it littered with debris. "Sadly, we believe some people have lost their lives," said the police commissioner. "At the moment we potentially know of four, but there may of course be more." The Solomons, which are made up of more than 200 islands, sit on the Pacific's earthquake-prone "Ring of Fire." A tsunami killed at least 50 people in the Solomons after an 8.1 magnitude quake in 2007. (Read more Solomon Islands stories.)