A powerful magnitude 8 earthquake struck near the Solomon Islands on Wednesday, triggering a small tsunami that swept into isolated island communities, and sparked tsunami alerts across the South Pacific including here in Fiji.
These alerts, though, were later cancelled. At least five people were killed and several low-lying villages near Lata on the island of Santa Cruz were damaged, according to local media reports.
Officials added that the death toll could rise as rescuers made their way to at least three more affected villages. The tsunami measured around 3 feet when it made landfall.
About 5,000 people live in and around Lata, but the area was deserted as residents fled to high ground.
The Solomons, perched on the geologically active "Pacific Ring of Fire", were hit by a devastating tsunami following a magnitude 8.1 quake in 2007.
At least 50 people were killed then, dozens more went missing and at least 13 villages were destroyed.