Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann has arranged to leave Korea for Honolulu today in the wake of the morning's earthquakes and power outage.
He was on an official visit to Korea, at the invitation of officials there, and was scheduled to return later this week.
Hannemann has been in constant contact with acting Mayor Mary Pat Waterhouse, his staff and the Oahu Civil Defense Agency, which activated its emergency operations center immediately after the first quake occurred at 7:08 a.m.
"Many people were worried and concerned after that first quake, which was widely felt on Oahu," said Hannemann. "We're glad that no major injuries or damage has been reported on Oahu, and we are extending our assistance to our neighbors on the Big Island.
"In addition, we realize that the loss of electrical power islandwide has caused a lot of problems and raised a lot of concern for people all over Oahu.
"Rest assured our first-response agencies have the situation under control," Hannemann said. "As soon as the power went out, the Honolulu Police Department began placing officers to direct traffic at all major intersections because the signals weren't working. Meanwhile, the Honolulu Fire Department handled more than 50 calls to assist persons trapped in elevators."
He advised the public to:
- Refrain from making unnecessary telephone calls, especially to the 911 emergency lines.
- Avoid driving unless absolutely necessary. Any intersection without signals should be treated as a four-way stop.
- Save water until the power is restored. Emergency generators can only pump a limited amount of water into the municipal system. The rest is being drained from storage reservoirs by gravity.
"We want to thank everyone for their cooperation thus far. Until power is fully restored, we need everyone's kokua," said Hannemann. "Stay off the road, stay off the phone and save water."
The loss of electrical power caused two spills of partially treated wastewater, at the Wahiawa and Sand Island treatment plants. Those and the City's other wastewater facilities are now functioning properly using power from emergency generators.
"We know Hawaiian Electric Company is working as hard as possible to restore power to all of Oahu," said Hannemann. "We'll be OK until then if we just practice some aloha and common sense."
He added that plans have been drawn up to ensure public safety and security in case some areas still don't have power when night falls.