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Another powerful quake strikes Solomon Islands

Published: 7:07AM Saturday February 09, 2013 Source: ONE News

Two aftershocks have rocked the Solomon Islands, three days after a magnitude 8.0 quake sparked a tsunami in the region.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) reports that an earthquake with a preliminary 7.1 magnitude tremor struck 23 kilometres from Lata, just after midnight New Zealand time.

National disaster management office spokesman Sipuru Rove told AFP that the quake had a shallow depth of just nine kilometres, and shook buildings for 30 to 40 seconds.

He added that when the tremor hit, villagers fled for higher ground.

Another large aftershock struck around 5.00am New Zealand time, registering 5.6, at a depth of 58 kilometres, USGS reports.

However, there were no immediate tsunami warnings or reports of damage.

Wednesday's 8.0 magnitude earthquake set off a tsunami that killed at least thirteen people.

A series of aftershocks have been hampering relief efforts on Ndende island in the eastern Solomons, where the tsunami inundated some 20 villages and left thousands homeless.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo's office, George Herming, told AFP that 13 people were so far confirmed dead and an undetermined number missing from the first quake, with the toll expected to rise as reports filter in from outlying areas.

Yesterday, the Solomon Islands government officially declared a State of Disaster for Santa Cruz Islands.

The National Disaster Council (NDC) said in a statement released by the Solomon Islands' Government Communications Unit it is satisfied that there is a logistical challenge in reaching people in the disaster area in Temotu.

"This challenge coupled with the number of dead already reported, the huge disruption to normal functioning in the province and that the capacity at the local, provincial and national levels to deal with it alone has been exceeded there has led to the NDC recommending a declaration of disaster be made."

New Zealand has contributed an initial sum of $200,000 for urgent supplies and support in the region.