FEMA Lauds State For Retrofitting Work

State Civil Defense Vice Director Ed Teixeira
State Civil Defense Vice Director Ed Teixeira

HONOLULU (KHNL) - The jolts from last October's seismic shaker off the Big Island continue, except, the state says, this one's rocking and rolling in the right direction. The Federal Emergency Management Agency comes out with a report noting what went right.

"If we didn't do some investment in the seismic retrofit of bridges and other facilities no telling where we'd be right now," says State Civil Defense Vice Director Ed Teixiera.

Thanks to a 1999 earthquake retrofitting costing $4.4 million, Oahu's Neal Blaisdell Center can continue to function as a major venue, as well as double as an emergency shelter, FEMA says.

For hours after the quake, Oahu suffered massive blackouts- except at Honolulu Harbor, where the work of loading cargo continued as usual. Teixeira recalls, "The emergency generators at the Matson yard kicked in and allowed port operations that day including the refrigeration of the goods."

75 percent of cost of the generators was paid for by Matson Lines and Young Brothers. The state paid for the rest. The project was coordinated by State Civil Defense, because the harbors serve an important function. "80% of the goods that come in the state come into Honolulu Harbor," reminds Teixeira.

The generators cost the $1 million , but the state says we all would have paid a much higher price if we were not prepared for disaster. "Maybe in the millions?" guesses Teixeira, who is just grateful we never had to find out.