St Peter’s Anglican Church in Kirakira suffered cracks to its structure during the morning quake. Photo: Gray Nako/World Vision Solomon Islands

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck at 4:38am local time in the Solomon Islands on Friday 9 December 2016.The earthquake hit less than 30 kilometres off the island of Makira and around 200 kilometres from the capital city Honiara. A tsunami warning was issued but later lifted.

 “I was sleeping when the room started to shake. I panicked and bolted for the door but couldn’t open it. It was terrifying,”
said Micha Maghe, World Vision’s Water Sanitation & Health Project Coordinator, based in Kirakira, Makira.

“When I got outside I could hear children crying, people shouting. We assembled at a school and I saw people moving towards high ground. I even saw an old man being pushed in a wheel chair towards a hill. People just panicked and were frightened.”

Kirakira residents moving to higher ground this morning witnessed the crack in the earth following today’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake.  Photo: Gray Nako/World Vision Solomon Islands

The earthquake caused damage to buildings in Kirakira including homes, a hospital, a church, the World Vision office and cut off the town’s power supply. Some twenty patients were also evacuated from the Kirakira hospital which was damaged by the earthquake.

Communities along Makira’s coast and in neighbouring South Malaita reported earthquake damage to houses but with limited road access and poor communication, the full extent of damage is unknown.

Early reports from the National Emergency Operations Centre report that over 3000 people in the provinces of Makira, Malaita and Temotu have been affected by the earthquake, with many homes destroyed.

A family in Kirakira, narrowly escaped with their lives after the wall of their family home collapsed during this morning’s 7.8 earthquake. Photo Gray Nako/World Vision Solomon Islands

World Vision and other humanitarian partners are on standby to support the Solomon Islands National Disaster Management Office to carry out damage assessments. “World Vision has pre-positioned supplies including mosquito nets, tents, soap, buckets and rope in place and is ready to support the Solomon Islands Government to assist affected children and families,” said Janes Ginting, World Vision Solomon Islands Country Director.

World Vision operates in Makira, Malaita, Guadalcanal, Temotu and Central Province assisting communities in the areas of water, sanitation, health, economic development, gender, education, disaster risk reduction and maternal, child health and nutrition.

In 2013 World Vision Solomon Islands supported the Solomon Islands Government with humanitarian and emergency support following a magnitude 8 magnitude earthquake and tsunami in Temotu Province and flash floods in Guadalcanal Province in 2014.

For media Interviews please contact:

Suzy Sainovski

World Vision Pacific Timor-Leste Communications Lead


Mobile: +61 (0)429 418 353

Skype: suzy.sainovski