Alerts across the South Pacific have been cancelled following a powerful earthquake off the Solomon Islands which triggered a tsunami which killed four people.

The 8.0 magnitude quake struck 211 miles east of Kira Kira in the Solomons.

A 3ft tsunami hit Lata in the remote Temotu province in the Solomons, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii.

It later cancelled warnings for other South Pacific islands, as well as for Australia and New Zealand, as the danger of a major destructive wave passed.

A number of homes were damaged and it is now known four people have died and two are missing, the prime minister’s office told the BBC.

Lata is the main town on Nendo, also known as Santa Cruz Island, the largest in the Santa Cruz island chain.

“The wave went 500m inland, and at this stage I was told that three villages were basically damaged,” Robert Iroga, press secretary to the Solomons prime minister, told the BBC, referring to three villages west of Lata.

“Houses were brought down, and the authorities were unable to ascertain as to what the damage was like because they were also running up to the mountains, up to the hills.”

Luke Taula, a fisheries officer in Lata, told Reuters the tsunami arrived in small tidal surges rather than as one large wave.

“We have small waves come in, then go out again, then come back in. The waves have reached the airport terminal,” he said.

The worst damage would be to villages on the western side of a point that protects the main township, he added.

“There are no casualties reported so far. But there are reports that some communities have been badly hit, their houses have been damaged by the waves.”

About 5,000 people lived in and around the town, but the area was deserted as people fled to higher ground, Taula said, adding that aftershocks were being felt.

Tsunami warnings were issued but later cancelled for the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, Kosrae, Fiji, Kiribati, and Wallis and Futuna islands.

“No tsunami threat exists for other coastal areas although some may experience small sea level changes,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said.