Earthquake – 5 Weeks Later


Finally made it to the Big Island this week for a short Thanksgiving visit with my family. Flew into Hilo on Tuesday, drove up the Hamakua Coast to Honokaa.

After talking to my mom, it was learned that people on the Hilo side did not get the severe impact of the October 15 earthquake that others on the West side of the island did.

Driving over, I did not notice much damage along Highway 19 except for the collapsed portion of a small bridge outside of Kukuiau and Pauuilo. That bridge is now only passable one lane at a time. The state has set up a temporary traffic light to regulate vehicles. Hopefully a permanent fix is coming soon.

At my parents’ place our collapsed homemade stonewall that was built in the late 1960s is pretty much as is as shown in the photo above, pretty much destroyed in one section.

Fortunately the damage was only limited to the wall and not the home. The house is okay, though we lost a few dishes and glassware from falls.

Damage to our wall:

The latest estimate on the cost of the October 15 earthquake stands around $200 million, certainly more. FEMA has long set up places on the Big Island where people can go to get financial assistance for disaster recovery.

Big Island Mayor Harry Kim indicated yesterday on a KITV 4 broadcast that the earthquake was a “wake-up call” and people should be prepared. It was also noted that Hawaii usually gets a major earthquake once every 6 to 7 years. The time between the last major quake and the October 15 quake was far longer. People grew complacent; many were unprepared.

An article appearing in today’s Honolulu Advertiser indicate that Hawaii is #4 in earthquakes, just behind Alaska, California and Nevada. The top 10 states are all on the west coast of the U.S.A.

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