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Solomons tsunami destroys villages

People are staying on higher ground as they wait for aftershocks to subside following an earthquake and tsunami in the Solomon Islands on Wednesday. Officials estimate 100 homes were damaged and six people were killed.

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A badly damaged home is seen Wednesday following a Tsunami at Lata, Temotu province, Solomon Islands.

AP Photo / World Vision

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Six bodies, including a child's, have been found in the sodden wreckage left by a tsunami that smashed into villages in the Solomon Islands, flattening dozens of homes in the South Pacific island chain.

The 1.5-meter (4 foot, 11-inch) waves that roared inland on Santa Cruz Island, in the eastern Solomons, on Wednesday were too fast to outrun for five elderly villagers and one child, who died after being sucked under the rushing water, George Herming, a spokesman for the prime minister, said Thursday. Several other people were still missing and dozens of strong aftershocks were keeping frightened villagers from returning to the coast, Herming said.

"People are still scared of going back to their homes because there's nothing left, so they are residing in temporary shelters on higher ground," Herming said.

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The tsunami was generated by a powerful 8.0-magnitude earthquake that struck near the town of Lata, on Santa Cruz in Temotu, the easternmost province in the Solomons. Temotu has a population of around 30,000.

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