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Cyclone Pam, a category five tropical storm, has hit Vanuatu after causing destruction in several South Pacific nations.
Flash floods and strong winds have hit Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Solomon Islands, causing significant damage.
Vanuatu has issued a red alert nationwide.
Cyclone Pam has reached its north and was expected to felt in the capital, Port Vila, on Friday night.
There have been no casualties or loss of life reported yet.
Meanwhile, category three Cyclone Olwyn has hit the coast of Western Australia with wind gusts of up to 120mph.
People in the WA coastal region were warned to move to higher ground to escape dangerous flooding.
Cyclone Pam has already caused flash floods in Tuvalu, which has declared a state of emergency.
The storm destroyed homes and flooded crop areas in Kiribati and the Solomon Islands, where at least 3,000 households have been affected.
The Vanuatu Meteorological Services (VMS) said that at 18:00 local time Cyclone Pam was 65 miles north-northeast of Port Vila and packing strong winds of 142mph at its centre.
All six provinces are now under red alert, meaning people are advised to immediately head to shelter.
VMS said “very destructive winds and very rough to phenomenal seas with heavy swells” were already hitting the region, while torrential rainfall, flash flooding, landslides and storm surges were expected.
Vanuatu National Disaster Management Office spokesperson Mishaen Garae Lulu told Radio New Zealand that the government had lost contact with some parts of the northern provinces.
He said the cyclone was expected to be worse than Cyclone Uma which killed 50 people in 1987.
Port Vila, was expected to escape the worst of the cyclone but people were being advised to move away from rivers and the sea.
The Vanuatu country director for Save the Children, Tom Skirrow, told AFP he was concerned about families living in shanty town areas.
“Thousands of families are living in makeshift, flimsy houses which will not withstand the immense winds and rain we’re expecting. Families need to urgently evacuate to safe buildings or the results could be catastrophic.”
Cyclone Pam is expected to weaken as it moves southwards just off the east coast of the island chain, which has a population of about 246,000.
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The Solomon Islands have been hit by a second earthquake of 7.5-magnitude, less than a day after a similar strength tremor.
A tsunami warning was in effect in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea, although it was not known whether a tsunami had been generated.
The latest quake was registered at a depth of 12 miles below the seabed, the US Geological Survey said.
There were no reports of major damage or casualties after the first quake early Sunday local time.
A 7.5 earthquake has struck off the Solomon Islands, less than a day after a similar strength tremor
The first tremor woke people in the Solomon Islands, striking at 07:14 local time, and was followed by a 5.9 magnitude aftershock.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre reported indications of a small tsunami which may have caused some damage hear the epicenter 200 miles southeast of the capital, Honiara.
The Solomon Islands lies in a zone prone to frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity.
In February, several people were killed after a tsunami triggered by a magnitude 8.0 quake struck near the Santa Cruz islands – part of the Solomon Islands nation.
The latest quakes come only a week after the Solomon Islands were hit by severe flooding, which left more than 20 people dead.
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A 7.6-magnitude earthquake has hit near the Solomon Islands, but there have been no reports of major damage or casualties.
The undersea quake was registered at a depth of 18 miles, 60 miles south-east of Kira Kira.
The Solomon Islands suffered severe flash floods in recent weeks
A tsunami warning issued for the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia was later cancelled.
The Solomon Islands suffered severe flash floods just over a week ago in which at least 16 people died.
Strong waves were reported after the earthquake struck at 07:14 on Sunday.
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At least 30 people are still missing after flash floods that have killed 12 people and left some 10,000 homeless in the Solomon Islands.
Much of the capital Honiara was inundated as thousands of people took refuge in emergency shelters.
A state of emergency has been declared amid concerns over food and water supplies and damaged infrastructure.
Solomons Red Cross Secretary General Joanne Zoleveke described the floods as “a tragedy none of us saw coming”.
At least 30 people are still missing after flash floods that have killed 12 people and left some 10,000 homeless in the Solomon Islands
Honiara’s main river, the Matanikau, burst its banks in the storm, sweeping away houses and bridges and flooding the downtown area.
Eleven evacuation centers have been set up at schools and at Honiara’s international airport, the World Vision aid agency says.
It says that the domestic airport terminal is under water and there are fears about the spread of disease once the water subsides.
Other parts of Guadalcanal province – where the capital is located – have also been declared disaster zones, officials say.
“Clean water sources have been contaminated, sanitation facilities destroyed and there is a lack of medicines to treat people who get sick,” said Lawrence Hillary, World Vision’s emergency response manager in the islands.
While water levels were reported to be subsiding on Saturday, aid agencies have warned that police still face the unpleasant task of finding more bodies in seaside and river debris.
The official number of deaths was, however, lowered on Saturday to 12 from the previous day’s toll of 16.
The impact of the flood was made worse because it struck so fast, giving people little time to escape from their homes.
Save the Children said on Friday that the scale of the damage was still unclear outside Honiara as both bridges out of the city had been cut off. However, it says that in the city itself thousands of homes have been completely washed away.
Australia has pledged at least A$50,000 ($46,200) in funds to support flood relief efforts.
New Zealand has given an initial contribution of NZ$300,000 ($256,200).
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The Duchess of Cambridge wore what she had assumed was a traditional national dress to an event celebrating Solomon Islands’ culture…only to later discover that the dress was actually from the Cook Islands, some 3,000 miles away.
Kate and William were meant to have dressed as Solomon Islanders to the party in the capital of Honiara on 16 September, part of their Diamond Jubilee tour of the Far East and South Pacific.
The sartorial agreement between the government of the Solomons and Clarence House was that the Duke and Duchess would attend the event wearing, respectively, a traditional handmade shirt and traditional dress.
But the gaffe occurred thanks to a woman named Kethie Sunders, an over-enthusiastic member of the Solomon Islands’ welcoming committee, who laid out the wrong clothes in the young royals’ suite.
Kate wore a Cook Islands traditional dress to an event celebrating Solomon Islands’ culture
Kethie Sunders nipped in to the bedroom before the Duke and Duchess arrived, excitedly adding some more gifts of clothing to the ones already laid out inside.
But when the royals arrived, their entourage noticed that the clothes in the suite – a bright blue patterened shirt for William and an elaborate strapless fuchsia dress for Kate – did not match the descriptions of the ones that had been agreed on.
A spokesman for Clarence House said: “We saw they weren’t the same design of the traditional clothes we were told would be gifted.
“So we checked with the Solomon Islands government to ensure the right ones were worn.
“We were reassured the clothes were correct, and so the Duke and Duchess wore them to the event.
“It was not learned until later in the evening that the clothes weren’t from the islands.
“But it was understood that the Duke and Duchess intended to wear traditional Solomon Island clothes and this was appreciated. No offence was caused.”
An official from Government House of the Solomon Islands said: “We are incredibly frustrated that this situation has come about and see Kethie as entirely to blame.
“It was completely inappropriate for her to go to Their Royal Highnesses’ room, which she filled with various things, causing confusion.”
Kate did not manage to wear the actual Solomon Islands dress during the tour, since her outfits had already been planned out for the whole trip, but she did return to England with both dresses.
Her spokesman said: “She still has both dresses, they were a gift, and she also has lovely memories of her wonderful time in the Solomon Islands.”
Wildlife trade watchdog Traffic has found that the Solomon Islands has become a hub for “laundering” wild birds into the global captive-bred bird trade.
Thousands of parrots, cockatoos and other exotic birds have been exported over the last 10 years, Traffic has reported.
But officials say there are no major captive breeding units in the islands.
The Solomons recently joined Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the global wildlife trade convention, which sets different conditions for trading captive-bred and wild animals.
“Declaring exported birds as being captive-bred has all the hallmarks of a scam to get around international trade regulations,” said Chris Shepherd, Traffic’s deputy director for Southeast Asia.
Traffic has found that the Solomon Islands has become a hub for "laundering" wild birds into the global captive-bred bird trade
Some of the 35 bird species exported from the Solomons are on the internationally recognized Red List of Threatened Species.
They include the Critically Endangered yellow-crested cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea), and the chattering lory (Lorius garrulus) and blue bird of paradise (Paradisaea rudolphi), which are both categorized as Vulnerable.
Under CITES all trade in the yellow-crested cockatoo is banned.
For the others, exports of wild-caught birds are strictly regulated.
Using records from importing countries, Traffic investigators calculated that about 54,000 birds were exported from the Solomons in the period 2000-2010.
More than 40,000 of these were declared as captive-bred.
Most belong to species native to the Solomons, but more than 13,000 came from non-native species, mainly originating in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
But Traffic could find no records of these species being imported into the Solomons, either for re-export or to begin a captive breeding programme.
An official from the government’s Environment Conservation Division told investigators: “There are no breeding facilities, only some confusion with storing facilities.
“Most of the exported birds were captured and kept in holding sites only.”
The main destinations for the birds were Malaysia and Singapore.
Malaysia recently suspended imports from the Solomon Islands after concerns were raised. Traffic is urging the Singapore government to do the same.
It also recommends that CITES should investigate the situation with authorities in the Solomon Islands, and consider a trade suspension if no action is taken.
Traffic is jointly supported by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and WWF, and works with CITES on various issues.