Five die in Solomon Islands earthquake, tsunami

BANGKOK — Five people died in the Solomon Islands today after a magnitude-8 earthquake hit the South Pacific nation and caused a tsunami, according to news reports.

The deaths were confirmed by Augustine Pilve, the head of nursing at Lata Hospital in the capital of Temotu province, Radio New Zealand reported. Staff were treating casualties and more were expected.

The tsunami was almost three feet high in Lata, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said.

The Warning Center determined that there was no tsunami threat to the West Coast of the United States.

The quake reportedly caused major damage to villages in the Santa Cruz Islands, which form part of Temotu province, the report said.

The Solomon Islands is a collection of about 1,000 islands that make up a single country in the South Pacific, east of Papua New Guinea. The islands were the scene of fierce fighting between Americans and Japanese during World War II.