Tonights townhall type meeting at Kailua Intermediate School, brought experts together in nearly every field that could address the many challenging questions from our communities, regarding the probability of our towns being devastated by a major Tsunami. A panel of experts including Ed Teixeira, Director Hawaii State Civil Defense; Melvin Kaku, Director of Emergency Management City & County of Honolulu; Dr. Chip McCreery, Director of Pacific Tsunami Warning Center; Maria Lutz, American Red Cross Hawaii, Disaster Preparedness, and a representative from the Kailua district of the Honolulu Police Department, met with Kailua and Waimanalo residents.
The questions were many, and I am sure varied. But, time would not allow for the one hundred or more windward residents to make their thoughts known. As for myself, I had a burning question that went un-answered. Question: Why don’t schools like Blanche Pope Elementary have an evacuation plan for a Tsunami? They have a plan for bombs, a plan for chemicals, and a plan to deal with crazed kidnappers, but no plan for a Tsunami. That’s right, many times during the school year our Keiki are escorted to the very nearby Waimanalo Beach Park, for safety. Now I must say that the Tsunami research does indicate that a Tsunami of the magnitude that struck Japan just weeks ago, is highly improbable to occur here in Hawaii. But, is it any less probable than a mad bomber coming onto the campus. You would think so, since there is a great deal of effort placed on having our Keiki remove themselves to the nearby beach, to plan for the crazed kidnapper or bomber.
As Maria Lutz, of the American Red Cross stated “Hawaii is in an extremely vulnerable place”. This committee, and the context of tonights presentations were timely and informative. I might also add that most of the attendee’s of tonights meeting were well informed, long before tonights gathering. On a lighter note, I will be emailing our thoughts to the disaster management office immediately to learn more about this, and other questions that we had.
I must compliment our representatives and the panel for their expert, timely and informative presentation. It is quite obvious to me, that if Japan was the model and standard for Tsunami preparedness, then Hawaii should be asking tougher questions. Please note that if you are one with some tough questions, or are worried about your Keiki when they’re in school, call 808-723-8960, State of Hawaii Department of Emergency Management. As Representative Chris Lee, stated “This meeting is an opportunity for us to prepare, and forces us to evaluate all our tools.”
I think that Senator Pohai Ryan made her point when she said “Take every warning seriously!”
Also present at this evenings meeting was a representative from the Small Business Administration, advising homeowners, renters, and business owners, of 3% & 4% interest rate disaster loans that are currently available for certain areas of Hawai’i, that have been declared an SBA disaster zone. For information on loan assistance contact: Olivia G. Humilde, Public Information Officer, U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Disaster Assistance at 1-800-488-5323 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mahalo everyone for your kokua,
Kahu Roy Brooks, Chairman, Ho’olu’a
Below are some snapshots of this evenings meeting.