Governor, Civil Defense Respond to Emergency

Gov. Linda Lingle
Gov. Linda Lingle

by Joann Shin

HONOLULU (KHNL) Governor Linda Lingle rushed in to a 2:00 PM Sunday news confrence, straight from Wheeler Army Airfield.  Before she left the island of Hawaii, she took a helicopter tour of the area. The governor was in Kona this morning when the quake occured.

She said, "I did not observe any blockades of road in Kona area, but there were some issues on other roads on the big island as well as Hana highway on Maui.  I did observe Kona Hospital being evacuated, from a 700 foot elevation.  We could see them wheeling patients."

Ex Teixeira with Civil Defense said the earthquake wasn't big enough to activate the statewide emergency alert system.

He said, "The threshold we use for a local quake along the seaside or in the ocean, to generate tsunami is a quake of a magnitude of 6.9 and above for a local tsunami."

He also explained what would happen if the alert was sounded.

"The Pacific Tsunami Center their procedure was to pick up the Hawaiian alert system, and contact those county warning points, which are the 9-11 centers at Hawaii County, Maui County, and City and County of Honolulu and tell them to sound sirens," Teixeira added.

The state has requested an emergency declaration and major disaster declaration.

"The emergency declaration if granted allows FEMA to task other federal agencies with helping the state and allows us to get reimbursed with the state expenditures we make immediately, between 75-90 percent reimbursement," said Governor Lingle.