9 dead, villages destroyed in Solomons tsunami

SYDNEY (AP) — Aid workers struggled to reach remote, tsunami-ravaged villages in the Solomon Islands on Thursday and the death toll rose to at least nine as more bodies were found in wrecked homes and debris in the South Pacific country. Another quake rocked the islands Friday morning.

The victims, including a child, were killed when a powerful earthquake set off a small tsunami that sent 5-foot waves roaring inland on Santa Cruz Island, in the eastern Solomons, on Wednesday. Around 100 homes across five villages were damaged or destroyed.

The waves proved deadly for five elderly villagers and a child, who weren’t fast enough to outrun the rushing water, said George Herming, a spokesman for the prime minister. Three more bodies were found Thursday, but Herming said details of how those victims died were not immediately available.

Several others are missing and dozens of strong aftershocks were keeping frightened villagers from returning to the coast, Herming said.

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