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NZ makes $200k available in aid for Solomon Islands

Published: 3:18PM Thursday February 07, 2013 Source: ONE News

New Zealand will assist with the emergency response to yesterday's devastating earthquake and tsunami in the Solomon Islands, Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says.

Nine people have been confirmed dead and hundreds of homes destroyed after a metre-high tsunami hit the Solomon Islands.

The wave struck the island chain following an 8.0 magnitude quake, 340 km east of Kirakira yesterday afternoon.

McCully says New Zealand "has made $200,000 available for humanitarian supplies and support to the Solomon Islands Government assessment teams".

He said the earthquake and tsunami, which hit the remote Temotu Province, caused major damage and sadly lives have been lost.

"Due to the remoteness of the area it might take some time for the Solomon Islands Government and relief agencies to gain a full picture of the damage," McCully says.

New Zealand will consider additional assistance in due course, he said.

Prime Minister John Key said earlier today that New Zealand has been talking with the Solomon's Government and is working with them.

"My understanding is there have been a number of deaths up there... so we're working with them to see what kind of support we might be able to offer."

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has told ONE News no New Zealanders have been reported as being affected by the tsunami.

However, they are monitoring the situation closely and are ready to offer assistance.

MFAT said there has been no request for international assistance from the Solomon Islands at this stage.

"The areas impacted are relatively remote and a Solomon Island Government assessment team will be travelling there today," it said in a statement.

Civil Defence in New Zealand has lifted its official tsunami warning, but said a minor threat still remains on the west coast from Taranaki to Milford Sound.