2007 Solomon Islands earthquake took place on 2
April 2007, near the island of Gizo, in the
was calculated by the
United States Geological
(USGS) as being at 8.1 on the moment magnitude scale
. The tsunami
that followed the earthquake killed 52
According to the USGS, the earthquake
recorded around 7:39:56 a.m. local time (UTC+11
). The focus
was 10 km (6 mi) deep and
40 km (25 mi) South
South-East of Gizo township on New Georgia Islands in Western Province.
There were numerous aftershocks, the
largest of which had a magnitude of 6.2.
At least fifty-two people were reported to have been killed and
sixty reported missing when a tsunami
triggered by the earthquake struck the Solomon Islands, wiping out
thirteen or more villages. Thousands were left homeless, and
damages are estimated in millions. In South Choiseul, waves 10
meters high swept away villages, gardens and a hospital.About 900
homes were destroyed.
tsunami reached Papua New
Guinea, with a family of five reportedly missing from a
remote island in Milne Bay Province, which was in the tsunami's path.
Aid workers reported that an outbreak of diarrhea
emerged among the survivors. However, the
UN reported that the outbreak and other diseases were under control
as of April 12. On April 18, a measles
outbreak was reported and an immunization program was
of Ranongga in the New Georgia
Group was lifted three meters by the earthquake, causing
its beaches to shift outwards of up to 70 meters.
coral reefs in the area are now largely above the surface and local
fishermen are worried that the fishing grounds have been destroyed.
However, Australian scientists said the exposure of the reefs are a
normal part of island building and that careful wildlife management
can preserve the reefs that remain.
warning was issued for the South Pacific Ocean, and advisories issued for Japan and Hawaii.
Australian Bureau of
Meteorology issued a warning for Australia's eastern coast,
from Queensland's Barrier Reef to Tasmania, and beaches
along the coast were closed, while many evacuated to higher
Areas affected by the main and
However, as the epicenter was close to the Solomon
Islands, the tsunami hit before the Hawaiian Pacific Tsunami Warning
released the warning.
High-magnitude ocean waves propagate at high speeds close to 25
meters per second, which meant that they traversed the 55-kilometer
distance from the epicenter to Gavo in less than 20 minutes.
Fortunately, the S-waves
from the earthquake
shook the ground and alerted the population, allowing many to flee
to high ground before the wave struck.
From Honiara, one of the first warnings came from the People First Network
's Simbo email
station, situated close to the epicentre. PFnet's Technical Advisor
relates that 20 minutes after the
earthquake, Simbo came on the (HF) radio and announced the arrival
of a huge wave that had washed away several houses and come inland
about 200m. This information was passed on by telephone to the
Hawaii-based NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre
who then upgraded
their warning to an "expanding regional alert". This was achieved
before the 35-minute arrival time of the wave for the capital
Honiara, which in the event proved non-destructive.The PFnet email
station operators had been trained in disaster response by Manager
Randall Biliki (late), who had previous worked as Director of the
Solomon Islands National Disaster offices for nine years. All
stations were equipped with UN-standard assessment forms installed
on the email station laptops using Microsoft Access. Information
was received from several email stations reporting on damages,
needs and assessment information for several days after the
tsunami, notably from badly-affected Korovou in Shortland
Australia committed to contribute an initial 3 million AUD in
emergency aid, later increased to 5.7 million as of June 2007.New
Zealand gave 950,000 NZD during the initial relief period, and
committed 7.5 million NZD over two years to reconstruction, as of
July 2007.The United States contributed US$250,000 in
US$214,000 and shipment of 1,000 kg of rice.
also airlifted supplies via New Caledonia.
The United Nations
field hospital in Gizo, with a total of eight planned for the
entire country, and also established three camps for internally displaced persons
Australian and Canadian medical teams have also been deployed
across the islands.Papua New Guinea, itself affected by the tsunami, has contributed
US$340,000 and a light plane that can better access smaller, more
remote airstrips. UNICEF
appeal for US$500,000 for both the Solomon Islands and Papua New
Guinea.Separately, the Red Cross has issued an appeal for US$800,000.
remoteness of some villages meant that aid did not reach them until
several days after the tsunami occurred. However, the Associated Press
reported on April 6 that
Gizo's airport had reopened, easing the delivery of supplies. A
Taiwanese fishing boat ran aground on coral reefs while delivering
supplies, but it was successfully evacuated by a United States Navy
helicopter. The boat's
crew managed to free the vessel from the rocks a few days
Tsunami warning buoys to be deployed by the Australian
Francis Billy Hilly, the MP for Simbo Island where 11 people died,
said on April 8 that those who had previously resisted resettlement
away from the island's active volcano were reconsidering their
options. The national government may also relocate islanders away
from low-lying areas pending a review of long-term rehabilitation
and disaster preparedness plans. The Australian government
announced that a network of five tsunami warning buoys will be
deployed along its Pacific coast, with two buoys stationed in the
Papua New Guinea/Solomon Islands area.
earthquake occurred along the boundary of the Pacific plate with, respectively, the Australia, Woodlark, and Solomon Sea plates.
The latter three plates converge to
the east-northeast or northeast against the Pacific plate with
velocities of 90–105 millimetres/year. Along much of the plate
boundary between the Pacific plate and the
Australia/Woodlark/Solomon Sea plates, relative plate-motion is
accomplished principally by subduction of the
Australia/Woodlark/Solomon Sea plates beneath the Pacific plate.
The April 2 earthquake's location and focal mechanism
are consistent with the
earthquake having occurred as underthrusting of the
Australia/Woodlark/Solomon Sea plate beneath the Pacific plate, as
part of the broader northeast-directed subduction process.
The Solomon Islands arc as a whole experiences a very high level of
earthquake activity, and many shocks of magnitude 7 and larger have
been recorded since the early decades of the twentieth century. The
April 2 earthquake, however, nucleated in a 250 kilometre-long
segment of the arc that had produced no shocks of magnitude 7 or
larger since the early 20th century.
- Tsunami death toll on Solomon Islands reaches
Novosti, Apr. 16, 2007
- Disease breaking out after Solomon Islands quake,
Reuters, Apr. 5,
- Communicable diseases under control in Solomon
Islands, ReliefWeb, Apr. 12, 2007
- Measles immunization campaign begins in Solomon
Islands, People's Daily Online, Apr. 18, 2007
- Indonesian coral reef exposed by 2005
earthquake, Associated Press, Apr. 14, 2007
- United States Pledges Assistance After Solomon
Islands Tsunami, United States Department of
State, Apr. 4, 2007
- Solomon Islands: Taiwan boosts assistance to tsunami
victims, ReliefWeb, Apr. 5, 2007
- Solomon Islands Tsunami Aid Effort Gathers
Pace, Associated Press via ABC/KGO-TV, Apr. 6, 2007
- Solomon Islands: UN aid workers start recovery
efforts after tsunami, United Nations, Apr. 4, 2007
- Tsunami relief bolstered for disease crisis,
Australian, Apr. 9, 2007
- PNG joins in sending aid to Solomons,
Australia, Apr. 11, 2007
- UNICEF: Urgent appeal for funds for hard hit Solomon
Islands, UNICEF, Apr.
- International Response to Solomon Islands Tsunami
Victims Gathers Momentum, Voice of America News, Apr. 6, 2007
- Aid still days away for Solomons homeless,
Reuters, Apr. 4,
- More aid supplies are starting to reach Solomon
Islands tsunami victims, Associated Press via WSTM-TV, Apr. 6, 2007
- Shipwrecked aid workers rescued, Melbourne
Herald Sun, Apr. 13, 2007
- Taiwanese tsunami aid ship in Solomon Islands freed
from reef where it ran aground, Associated Press, Apr. 14, 2007
- Shift Simbo tsunami victims: Solomons MP,
Australian Associated Press,
Apr. 8, 2007
- Solomons PM seeks tsunami assistance,
Australian Associated Press,
Apr. 16, 2007
- Tsunami beacon to protect coast, The Australian, Apr.