Quake Lifts Island Ten Feet Out of Ocean

Earthquake Lifts Island Ten Feet Out of Ocean (Pictures): Reef
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A fisher paddles a dugout canoe past a coral reef exposed by an April 2, 2007, earthquake that lifted the Solomon island of Ranongga ten feet (three meters) out of the water.

Experts warn that the loss of the reefs will negatively impact the fishing communities along the island's coast.

"The fish from the reefs are the major source of protein for the villagers," Jackie Thomas, acting manager for the international conservation organization WWF in the Solomons, told the AFP news agency.

"The whole food chain has been disrupted," she said. "Villagers will have to travel further to find the same food and nutrition they've relied on."

The reefs around Ranongga, a protected marine environment, have been "destroyed," Thomas said.

Diving operators say the disaster may also have ruined some of the best dive sites in the world.

"Diving is huge here. It employs so many local people," local dive operator Danny Kennedy told AFP. "The fear is that people are going to come here and see the reefs are damaged, then tell people not to come back for a few years until they recover."

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Photograph by William West/AFP/Getty Images
 
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