SYDNEY, Feb 7 (Xinhua) -- A small tsunami waves caused by a magnitude-8 earthquake off the Santa Cruz Islands have led to six deaths by now, official sources said on Thursday.
The 1.5-meter tsunami waves have washed into the town of Lata, the capital of Temotu Province, leaving 100 homeless people in the village of Lauva after 16 houses were destroyed on Wednesday, while smaller waves were recorded in Vanuatu and New Caledonia.
"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," George Herming, a spokesman for the prime minister.
Strong aftershocks were keeping frightened villagers from returning to the coast.
"Authorities were still struggling to reach the remote area but an estimated 100 homes had been damaged or destroyed," Herming said.
The magnitude-8 earthquake, at first assessed at the dangerously shallow depth of 5.8 km but later discovered to have been 33 km deep, was located east of the main Solomon Islands archipelago and north of Vanuatu.
It is still followed by a series of smaller quakes, five measuring above 6.0 on the Richter scale within four days.