Emergency aid is finally trickling through to thousands of people stranded by the devastating tsunami which struck the western Solomon Islands following yesterday's earthquake.

The earthquake has left at least 24 people dead and more than 5,400 survivors homeless.

There are so far no verified figures for the numbers missing. Officials said 13 villages were destroyed.

Most of the dead and displaced were around the seaside diving town of Gizo, which witnesses said was pounded by a five metre- high tsunami.

The 8.0 magnitude quake early yesterday sparked the tidal wave that also hit towns in the country's Western Province.

An Anglican bishop and three of his congregation were among those killed.

Bishop Rowlington Zappo was presiding over an ordination ceremony on the island of Simbo, not far from Gizo, when the quake struck.