Strong earthquake causes damage

The earthquake caused some walls to collapse.
The earthquake caused this wall to collapse.

AN earthquake with a magnitude of 6.5 struck between Malakula and Ambrym islands this morning, causing major damage on islands close by, including Pentecost.

The Vanuatu Independent news has received reports of many landslides and building destruction as a result of this earthquake, which struck about 9.30am.

An elderly woman in the south of Pentecost was brought to the hospital for stitches after falling badly as a result of the earthquake.

The Vanuatu Independent news online spoke to a resident in Point Cross in South Pentecost and he described this as one of the biggest earthquakes they have experienced.

“We were outside the Anglican church here when it shook; me and my friend rushed to hold on to a tree but it was so strong the tree threw us to the ground,” said John Hendry from Point Cross.

“We tried to get up but ground shook so hard that we rolled.

“As we were rolling we saw the church wall falling and the big church tower broke off.

The tower and roof of this church were severely damaged by the earthquake.
The tower and roof of this church were severely damaged by the earthquake.

“It was so strong we were shocked and scared,” he said.

Mr Hendry said that many natangura houses were destroyed, homes were cracked and there were holes in the ground everywhere.

“Many of our water tanks broke, water will be a problem now.”

There have been no reports of deaths, and no report of tsunami warnings.

A sailor who was in the Olal ‘Yacht Club’ in Ambrym, perched on the edge of the cliff overlooking the water, said the earthquake was very scary.

“The whole building shook like crazy and we all ran to get out,” he said.