Four Days Since The Earthquake

It is now four days since the earthquake.

The political fallout is beginning as various people and entities debate what was done wrong and right. One of the early complaints have been the lack of timely information. People are complaining that the media did not have any information minutes after the quake.

Since power was off, most people could not get TV. While I was not aware of it at the time, I later learned that KITV Channel 4 was on for most of the day, broadcasting information from the newsroom with back-up power over the internet through their website The HawaiiChannel.com. Great, people on the mainland and around the world were able to get the latest news and images through the webcast. With no electricity, most people on Oahu and elsewhere in the state could not get the internet.

On Sunday mornings, most radio stations run public service and pre-recorded, automated programs. KSSK AM & FM broke into their programming about 20 minutes after the quake. I remember hearing their mid-day personality, Kathy With a K broadcast the first snippets of information on KSSK before the station resumed the public affairs show. It was not until about 8 AM that Michael W. Perry and Larry Price were on the air, that KSSK started to broadcast emergency programming through the rest of the day. Once they started, they received “kudos” for the live emergency broadcast. I thought they did a good job too.

Several other stations made it back to the air including Cox Radio’s KRTR which I did catch later in the day.

Some government officials are now criticizing the timely flow of information. Governor Linda Lingle will be convening a task force to look into how communications could improve for the next major emergency. There is even talk of the state setting up its own radio station for emergency broadcasting.

The current damage estimates are climbing past the $75 million mark. The Big Island of Hawaii, sustained the brunt of the damage. Several major highways have damaged bridges. Travel may be compromised.

The Kawaihae Harbor, which services the west side of the island with incoming and outgoing freight was heavily damaged as giant concrete piers cracked and shifted, hindering the safe loading of containerized cargo. The state is responding by trying to make some quick fixes to bring the facility back up to as near normal condition as it was before the earthquake.

I eventually reached my folks via telephone on the day of the quake in the late afternoon. They all had a very frightful experience with the violent shaking. I have spoken to them several times since. My mom relayed her experience of being caught in the kitchen area and watching the entire house shake, rattle and roll. She said that there were all kinds of frightening sounds as the windows rattled, cupboards opened and many items spilled out and crashed to the floor below. She mentioned that several cups, glasses and plates were broken. When I asked about heirloom china that she had from the “tutus”, she stated that none had broken. I know some of these items were in a display case, but I think she had them taped or tacked somehow to the case many years ago in anticipation of preventing them from breaking during a quake.

We have a stone wall that goes around our Honokaa property on the Big Island. My mom, dad and sister told me this old wall sustained some major damage in our back yard. Sad. I remember many years ago helping my Dad build this wall. Hopefully FEMA can come through and my folks will be able to get some funds to repair the damage. My dad tells me that a wooden fence will probably be put in its place.

Despite the damage, the best news is that everyone is OK. And that is good.

News about the damage, causes and the growing cost to fix everything up will continue for the weeks to come. Hawaii has come through fairly well despite the severity of this disaster. Hopefully we will be resilient enough to fully recover in a few months.

1 Comment so far

  1. Laurie (unregistered) on October 20th, 2006 @ 8:53 am

    After hurricane Katrina in 2005 we only had two

    radio stations and both kept moving to provide us

    with to the minute news; we called it WWL Unified

    since all stations were involved in keeping these two channels up.

    One ran rumours-the comedy channel, the other cleared up

    all rumours and delivered nanosecond news.

    Of course, they were living in sleeping bags and eating “Lucky Charms”.

    The commercial about the guy in a yoga pose to get

    cell phone reception was reality.

    Unfortunately, bad news sells papers don’t let them use

    not having an interparishwide emergency communications

    system against you. It has to be a system not dependent

    on any one system that accepts all different communications systems.

    Good luck.

    Laurie



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