The Solomon Islands were rattled Thursday by aftershocks of the magnitude-8.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami that killed nine people in the South Pacific archipelago,

The most violent aftershock, measuring magnitude-7.0, occurred in the southeastern part of the archipelago in Santa Cruz province near the site of Wednesday's major temblor.

Emergency and medical teams are evaluating the damage and attending to the injured in three villages destroyed by the tsunami near Lata, the provincial capital.

The waves also damaged the runway at the local airport, substantially affecting the ability to get humanitarian aid to the zone.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued an alert for the region that it cancelled two hours later after the tsunami hit the Solomons and another one 11 centimeters (about 4.5 inches) high hit the coasts of Vanuatu without causing any damage.

In 2007, an 8.1-magnitude earthquake killed 52 people in the Solomons, which are made up of about 1,000 islands and have a population of around 523,000.

The archipelago is located on the so-called "Pacific Ring of Fire," an area with a large amount of seismic and volcanic activity that is hit by some 7,000 earthquakes per year, most of them of low to moderate intensity. EFE