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Powerful Pacific earthquake triggered tsunami warning

A magnitude 8.0 earthquake in the Pacific Ocean prompted a tsunami warning for the region; however, it has since been revoked. The powerful waves killed at least five and left dozens of homes destroyed.

A powerful and shallow magnitude 8.0 offshore earthquake in the Pacific Ocean east of the Solomon Islands on Wednesday prompted a tsunami warning from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii, which it subsequently revoked.

The waves buffeted Pacific coastlines killing at least five people.

Solomons Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo's office said several villages had been damaged.

"Latest reports suggest that between 60 to 70 homes have been damaged by waves crashing into at least four villages on Santa Cruz Islands," Lilo's spokesman George Herming told the AFP news agency.

The quake was 5.8 km deep and the epicenter was 347 km east of Kira Kira in the Solomon Islands near the Santa Cruz islands. It struck at 11:12 am local time, (0112 UTC). More than twenty aftershock quakes were registered by the US Geological Survey.

Reuters reported a 3-foot (0.9 meter) wave hitting the Solomon Islands two hours after the quake.

The Hawaii Warning Center said that "sea level readings indicate a tsunami was generated" which may have been destructive along coasts near the epicenter, and which could also pose a threat to more distant coasts. The organization has since said that the danger for the wider region has passed.

jm/msh (Reuters, dpa, AFP)