6.5 aftershock hits Solomon Islands

AFP-JIJI

A 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck off the Solomon Islands on Sunday, the latest powerful aftershock following a magnitude 8.0 temblor that sparked a tsunami four days ago, according to U.S. seismologists.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake hit at 8:02 a.m. at a locations 29 km south-southwest of Lata, the main town on Santa Cruz Island.

A further 12 houses were reported destroyed by a 6.8-magnitude aftershock Friday and another tremor measuring 7.0, causing villagers to flee to higher ground in fear of a second tsunami.

The government of the Solomons has declared the outlying Santa Cruz Islands a disaster area because the aftershocks are continuing to hamper relief efforts.