FEMA Team Heads to Big Island

Gov. Linda Lingle
Gov. Linda Lingle
Rod Haraga
Rod Haraga
Michael Karl
Michael Karl
Kawaihae Harbor
Kawaihae Harbor
Kalahikola Church in Hawi
Kalahikola Church in Hawi

(KHNL) -- School rooms in need of clean up and repairs. roadways blocked by debris generated by landslides. The federal government may assist with those problems now that President Bush has issued a major disaster declaration for the state.

"That will open up some immediate assistance for the state as it relates to debris removal and other emergency steps that we needed to take right away," said Gov. Linda Lingle.

The federal government may also help pay for repairs to the Big Island's Kawaihae harbor. It was able to re-open at 4 p.m. Tuesday, despite suffering additional damage from another smaller quake in the morning.

"Those areas we need to fill and repair but in the areas we can put some steel plates on to ensure we can distribute the load and be able to put cargo safely on the pier," said Rod Haraga, state transportation director.

But what about the blackout created by Sunday's quakes? The Federal Emergency Management Agency said losses to individuals or private businesses may not be eligible for help.

"If there were losses to a government owned entity not a private for profit entity, then there may be some compensation available," said Michael Karl, a FEMA coordinator.

FEMA expects it may take at least a week to come up with a damage estimate for the entire state.

"As time goes by I think there are going to be a lot of other impacts and it's simply too early right now to say," Lingle said.