Pacific nation government advises people to move to higher ground after magnitude 7.0 earthquake

A major earthquake has been reported near the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

A tsunami warning was issued for a coastal area within 300 km (185 mi) of the epicenter, and the Prime Minister’s office urged people to move to higher ground.

Michael Salini, a businessman and political commentator on Tulagi Island, which is opposite Honiara, told Al Jazeera that people were “very concerned”.

“Everyone has walked up the hills and [are waiting] for any possible tsunami warning,” he added, saying that most people were aware of the signs of a tsunami.

The quake knocked out power in some parts of Honiara and cut state broadcasters, but the government said there was no major damage to buildings in the capital.

“This was a big one,” Joy Nisha, a receptionist at the Heritage Park Hotel in the capital Honiara, told AFP news agency. “Some things in the hotel fell. Everyone seems fine, but panicked.”

The United States Geological Survey said the magnitude-7.0 earthquake struck the Malango region, about 55 km (34 mi) west of the capital, at a depth of 15 km (9 mi). It revised the magnitude of the quake from an earlier magnitude of 7.3.

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