A massive 8-magnitude earthquake is feared to have flattened villages in Solomon Islands and triggered a tsunami with destructive potential for Pacific nations' coasts.
A tsunami warning has been issued for the western and central Pacific, including a watch for New Zealand.
"The information we are getting is that some villages west and south of Lata along the coast have been destroyed, although we cannot confirm this yet," the director at Lata Hospital on the main Santa Cruz island of Ndende, told AFP.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii says a 90cm wave has been measured in Lata in eastern Temotu province.
A staff member at the Solomons National Disaster Management Office in the capital Honiara says officials are concerned about Temotu.
"That's the province, which if it is going to have an effect, then they will be the first people to be impacted," the official told AFP. "They felt the quake."
He says the national disaster operation centre has been activated and staff are trying to contact those in Temotu province.
The tsunami warning centre says a tsunami may be destructive near the epicentre and could pose a threat to more distant coastlines.
The quake's centre was in the Santa Cruz islands, 340km east of Kira Kira or about 600km from Honiara. It struck at a depth of 28.7km at 12.27 UTC.
Six aftershocks with a magnitude of between 5.2 and 6.6 have followed so far.
Authorities in Fiji have advised all residents on low-lying coastal areas to evacuate to higher zones as soon as possible.
France has also issued a tsunami warning for the eastern coastline of New Caledonia, a French territory.
However, Australia's meteorology bureau says it is not at risk.
The quake's magnitude puts it as a great earthquake or the highest category.