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CNN BREAKING NEWS
Magnitude 6.3 Earthquake Hits Hawaii; No Reported Fatalities
Aired October 15, 2006 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right, this is Fredricka Whitfield in the CNN Atlanta newsroom. You are watching live coverage from our affiliate KITV out of Honolulu, Hawaii. You are watching this via streaming online because there are so many power outages, they reported throughout the Hawaiian islands. We're lucky enough to be able to get this kind of live feed streaming online from KITV after this 6.3-magnitude earthquake being felt about three hours ago. Let's return now to more of their coverage from KITV in Honolulu.
PAMELA YOUNG, KITV CORRESPONDENT: And right now we have an update from Ben Gutierrez, who is at the Edelay (ph) Home Depot. How does it look there, Ben?
BEN GUTIERREZ, ISLAND WEATHER: Well it's relatively quiet, but the Home Depot is the only store that we have been able to find open at least in the areas that we have gone through. The Costco is closed. Home Depot has been accepting only cash as people have been coming in to buy things like bottled wear it. They said generators are going out, people have been bringing by propane to be refilled.
However they do report that they are out of most of the batteries already. Looks like they -- they said they were just about out of D batteries or they're about to run out of C-sized batteries. And so it looks like people have been coming here, picking up batteries and they're almost out already.
But for the most part, it's been relatively calm. They are able to run with some backup power. But they are accepting cash only. And they're just about out of batteries as we speak. Other stores that we have been to are pretty much, down to the big steel doors of the Costco are shut. They say they will not open until electricity comes back on.
And at last check, of course, we aren't really sure when that is going to happen. So, you can assume that most everything, seems to be closed until the power comes back.
YOUNG: How is the staffing at Home Depot?
GUTIERREZ: Looks like they're fully staffed at the moment. They are starting to -- quite a few people here, with the aprons, many of them are on duty. They are still here. And they are serving customers. Again, cash only because -- because the -- because the electricity is down. And -- right now we just have a few people, even now buying propane tanks as we speak. And they're coming out with batteries, coming out with charcoal right now.
So -- they're just getting things -- that they need to deal with the lack of electricity to try and get water and some food done, Pam.
YOUNG: And they will probably stay open until they run out of supplies?
GUTIERREZ: Most likely. I tried to speak to the manager, but he was obviously busy and apologized for that. But it looks they're going to try to stay open long as they can. At this point it looks like they still have some propane tanks. Looks like they have that, looks like they have charcoal. But it looks like the batteries are running out.
YOUNG: OK, thank you very much. That was Ben Gutierrez at the Edelay (ph) Home Depot. I just got an update here, a clarification. There were reports that the roof of Wal-Mart in Kahlua-Kona had collapsed. That is not the case. There may be some structural damage but at this point the only confirmation we have is that Killer Tacos (ph) in Kona, that roof, that ceiling has collapsed. Back to you, Shawn.
SHAWN CHING, KITV CORRESPONDENT: All right, thank you very much Pam.
I want to go to Dan Smith from Corporate Communications from Hawaiian Telcom. Dan, are you there? Did I get that right?
DAN SMITH, HAWAIIAN TELCOM: Hi, Shawn, yes you did get that right. And I was just calling in to let people know that Hawaiian Telcom's network statewide does continue to function, so it is working as it is planned.
There are no reports of damage to our facilities, though we do have a very thorough assessment continuing. We have our operations team working, we're linked together statewide via a conference call. It's just an ongoing conference call. So everyone is in touch and continuing updates to each other and we're also in contact with state civil defense and city and county emergency officials.
CHING: So Dan you're that the phone service did not go off this morning, although this, people are reporting that they had some trouble communicating?
SMITH: ... continue to function. We are however experiencing very heavy congestion on the network, as everyone tries to call and reach out to family and friends or things like that, try to reach news agencies. We do ask people not to use the telephone unless they really have to, if they have to report an emergency. The best way is to just stay tuned to the news media to find out what is up.
CHING: Dan, can you give us a quick lesson on how this system works? I mean, you guys are of course tied into the power grid, correct?s
SMITH: We do depend on commercial power. But at each of our major switching centers, we have batteries on site. Whenever the regular power goes out the switches -- these are the communications switches, immediately transfer over to battery power. And then if the power outage lasts for any length of time, then the switch is automatically converted over to a generator power. And I know -- some, if not all of the central offices now are working on generator power.
CHING: So what are you hearing in terms of the power situation and your ability to receive power from the grid?
SMITH: I actually do not have any information about that. I know that our operations team, that is working on it constantly, they are in touch with the electric company. But I don't have any information that I can provide. I just don't know.
CHING: OK Dan, now you talk about a conference call. This is with state civil defense?
SMITH: This is our operations team, our network operations team. As you might imagine, it's a very complex statewide network. And so we're linked together, all of the islands, keeping constant information flowing throughout the company about the state of our network and facilities.
CHING: OK, what was it like for you this morning? Where were you, and can you describe it for us?
SMITH: I live at Sunset Beach, and it was about 7:09 and we got a really good shaker. We used to live in southern California. I lived through the Northridge quake, so we knew immediately what it as and we just ran for the doors. And as soon as it settled down, I started heading into work.
CHING: Now the Northridge quake, of course, extensive damage and loss of life there, upwards of 8.5 on the Richter Scale?
SMITH: It was a very large one. I don't know quite what it was. And, the reports that we're getting are, you know, there are damage. I think there are a lot of very frayed nerves, but everybody seems to be hanging in there and let's show them how good Hawaii can respond to an emergency.
CHING: Yes no doubt, thank you very much, Dan Smith from Hawaiian Telcom reporting that all of the phone systems are up and running on all of the islands and that they did not have any interruption of service although they did report heavy congestion which may have led to some problems making contact. And they have no reports of any damage. Is that correct, Dan?
SMITH: Thank you, Shawn.
CHING: OK, thank you very much, Dan Smith from Hawaiian Telcom. We'll check back with him throughout the morning.
Just to recap -- it has been quite a busy morning here for the state of Hawaii. A 6.5 magnitude earthquake felt throughout the state, occurred six miles northwest of the big island near Kailua- Kona. The U.S. Geological Survey tells us that this maybe the biggest earthquake since 1983.
We are still working to confirm that with them. But it has been a crazy morning for most of us, for many of us rather. Let's go to the newsroom now, Pamela Young there with another update. Pam?
YOUNG: We have Gary Sprinkle, who has been spending the morning at state civil defense, and is now on the road. What can you report, Gary?
GARY SPRINKLE, KITV CORRESPONDENT: Well I've just have come out of a meeting with Ed Takiera (ph) of civil defense and Lieutenant Governor Duke Gayona (ph). And the report from the big island is that there is some serious, and numerous road damage.
Kona Hospital and Honaka (ph) Long-Term Care Facility has been evacuated. The airports are open for incoming, inbound traffic. They are not open for outbound traffic as reported earlier. The airports inbound traffic only.
We do want to mention that governor just happened to be on the big island for some sort of a function last night. And is there now. She is at the Kona Police Department assessing the situation. What they are trying to get across, very clear to everyone is that if people can stay home and stay off the roads it's going to help them immensely to get their job done.
On the big island there is a lot of road damage. So there is -- dangerous situations out there as well. On Oahu, as I understand it, Hiko has started the process of bringing power back up. But they have said it is going to be an all-day deal at the very least. So, if people can just stay off the roads, that is the message right now that the lieutenant-governor is asking for people to do.
YOUNG: OK, thank you. That's Gary Sprinkle on his way back from state civil defense. Shawn, back to you.
CHING: OK, thank you very much, Pam.
Just to recap earlier, we had a report from big island civil defense. Gary mentioned it, they are reporting significant structural damage there on the big island. We can tell you right now that the Kona Community Hospital, as Gary mentioned was evacuated due to major structural damage. Also Hona (ph) Long Term care facility, Yano (ph) Hall, Royal Kona Resort, Kona Gym, Mahalani Hotel (ph), all reporting some form of damage there.
And there is significant road damage on the island of Hawaii, numerous rock slides. So as Gary mentioned, state civil defense urging people to stay off the roads, to stay home and to stay off the phones, and to only call 911 if it is an emergency.
Governor Lingle (ph) is still in Hilo. Earlier she said that she would effort her way back to the island of Oahu, but Gary is reporting that Governor Lingle (ph) is in Hilo at police headquarters there monitoring the situation and that the airports only accepting inbound traffic. There are no outbound flights from any of state airports. That is the latest from the state civil defense, which is operational.
Lieutenant Governor Duke Kayona (ph) is at the civil defense headquarters monitoring the situation. So again, they are urging everyone to just stay home, stay off the phones. If you have an emergency, which is a true emergency to then call 911, but not to use the 911 system unless you absolutely have to.
If you need to venture out onto the roadways, a lot of the traffic lights on the island of Oahu are out. Most of them in fact, many of them across the state are out due to the lack of power. To treat any intersection as a four way stop, to yield to your right. Just to be very cautious when entering intersections. That is, if you have to go out on to the roads, but hopefully you will be able to stay home and just wait this thing out.
Hawaiian Electric is telling us that power will be restored for, it will be quite some time before power is restored. They're looking at to-to-12 hours. So there is really no true indication of when power will be back on. They are still in the assessment stage trying to assess some of the damage from this morning's 6.5 earthquake, which was centered some six miles northwest of the big island off of Kailua- Kona.
Let's go back to the newsroom. Pamela Young is there with more information. Pam?
YOUNG: We have Stephanie Landers from the North Hawaii Community Hospital in Waimea. Stephanie, were you on duty when the tremors hit?
STEPHANIE LANDERS, HAWAII COMMUNITY HOSPITAL: Yes, I was. Actually I was the nursing supervisor on this morning when the earthquake hit the hospital.
YOUNG: And what happened there?
LANDERS: We had a whole lot of rocking and rolling. Ceiling tiles falling. Lights falling from the ceiling. We had some air conditioning lines break. Shelves, books, glass, all falling, breaking. Lots of screaming going on.
I can tell you that all of the patients have been accounted for and are safe. There are no fires. And, we activated the disaster mode and everything has been running smoothly.
YOUNG: Now are you on regular power or emergency power still?
LANDERS: We did hook, we did change over to the generator. And I believe that we still are on generator power.
YOUNG: Now there is some concern in Hona-Kaha (ph) that the patients have been evacuated and there is structural damage there, even a gas leak. Have you heard any information about other hospital facilities?
LANDERS: Yes, I have. Actually Kona Hospital I heard is in dire needs right now of transferring some patients out. They've had to evacuate a few floors. They' have, what we've been told, is some ceilings have fallen. Some floors have collapsed. They've evacuated a few floors.
North Hawaii Community Hospital is expecting a few transfers from their facility. And Hilo Hospital will also be accepting a few transfers from Kona Hospital. And we are also planning on flying patients over to Oahu from Kona Hospital.
YOUNG: Do you know if the emergency flights are still on schedule since the airports are still basically closed except to incoming flights?
LANDERS: Right. They've activated flights just for emergency basis only, as far as patients are concerned. They have priority.
YOUNG: How many patients are you expecting to be transferred to your facility?
LANDERS: They didn't give us a final number yet. What I was told by the disaster command center is that we should be expecting several as well as Hilo expecting several and several going to Oahu. So we don't have any final numbers yet. I can tell you the ER is already being inundated with many lacerations and fractures.
YOUNG: What do you recommend to people who are concerned about family members who are in the hospitals who are calling you and jamming up the lines?
LANDERS: We are taking all phone calls. We have brought in extra help, actually to help with answering the phone calls. And we're able to transfer the family members to their other family members rooms so they may speak to them. So it's not been a problem. It's actually been very smooth. I am impressed with the way things have been running at North Hawaii.
YOUNG: You mentioned lacerations -- any other injuries reported?
LANDERS: Lacerations and fractures, are the major things that are occurring now with the earthquake. From all the falling items and breaking glass and what have you. Those are the majority of the injuries that have been reported to the emergency room this morning.
YOUNG: Nothing major?
LANDERS: Nothing major as of yet.
YOUNG: OK, Stephanie Landers from North Hawaii Community Hospital -- will you call again, please, Stephanie for an update?
LANDERS: I sure will.
YOUNG: Thank you.
LANDERS: Thank you.
YOUNG: Stephanie Landers from Waimea. Back to you, Shawn. CHING: OK, thank you very much, Pam. Quite a few callers from the area of the big island reporting in substantial damage up there. Again, we spoke to Bill Wong (ph) earlier, who said that his house shaken off the foundation, that his stove in his home shifted 18 inches. That his TV sets crashed to the ground and he reported a lot of damage there. He reported a 100-year-old smokestack from a sugar mill plantation is now a pile of rubble. This is in North Kohala (ph) district near Havi (ph) in the upper portion of the big island.
We have crews all over the state. We have crews covering the island of Oahu, also on the neighbor islands. We have a crew at the airport which we are trying to make further contact with. They have reported in that the airport contrary to earlier reports, that the Honolulu Airport is closed at this time because they're having some issues with -- with power and getting the security systems up and running and the backup power system has not kicked in yet.
So the Honolulu Airport is not up and running at this hour. That is the latest report from our crew in the field. They're reporting that the -- the facilities there, the bathrooms are not able to function because of the lack of power. The toilets are not able to flush, the water not able to flow. We're not exactly clear on how that is all connected to the power system in terms of the water flowing. But we can tell you that the electrical system there not up, which is affecting security. So the airport at Honolulu International at this time is closed.
Now state civil defense report out of there from Gary Sprinkle who is on his way back to the station said that most of the airports with the exception of Honolulu International accepting only inbound traffic at this time and that they're not accommodating outbound air traffic from airports throughout the state. We'll get an update on that as soon as we can for you.
But we do have crews all over the island covering today's earthquake that registered 6.5 magnitude quake which happened off Kailua Kona. There were quite a number of aftershocks, possibly, as many as 10 which ranged up to 3.5.
We can tell you that the phone system is up and running. There was heavy congestion which may have affected ability to call and place calls, and receive calls. But no damage reported from Hawaiian Telcom regarding the phone system.
State civil defense is operational. There was no tsunami warning issued this morning. But there has been reports of extensive damage on the island of Hawaii, particularly damage to the roads regarding rock slides. There are no reports of any fatalities statewide, no reports.
We can tell you that -- there have been reports of injuries. Just heard a woman from the big island reporting, nurse actually, who is in the hospital at the time of the quake. A number of lacerations, reports of lacerations, of cuts, of people, being affected by property damage. Things possibly falling on them. We'll get more reports on that as the morning progresses. For the island of Oahu, power is out. We can tell you that -- the power will not be.
BLITZER: I'm Fredricka Whitfield in the Atlanta newsroom. You are watching our affiliate coverage out of KITV, they are broadcast coming to us via satellite, after about three, almost four hours now after an earthquake, the size of 6.3 on the Richter Scale. The epicenter in the northwest quadrant of the big island and people as far as Oahu, which is the capital -- now we're being told 6.6 magnitude earthquake being felt. The epicenter there in the big island, but it being felt all the way up to Oahu, the capital island.
People were experience everything from furniture being shifted in household and power is out throughout several of the islands. And communication via telephone is intermittent. We have been listening to our affiliate coverage there from a lot of folks even reporting there is structural damage in the form of roofs collapsing, and even a hospital in the big island has been evacuated because of some structural damage and one of the major highways on the big island is closed now, which means people are being urged to stay inside.
And that's because of landslides and rocks that have fallen, blocking that roadway. We saw an image coming from one of our I- Reports of the debris that has been falling as a result of this earthquake taking place, three, almost four hours ago now. And we're encouraging people along the Hawaii island to send any kind of images you may get from your cell phones or digital cameras in any way, send it to us at CNN.com exchange.
Now I think we're going to continue in to our affiliate there, KITV out of Honolulu.
HARRY KIM, BIG ISLAND MAYOR: This is the first major earthquake of six magnitude and above I think since 1990. So as we're told, our operating center, we are dealing with a lot of scared people. Naturally when you have that kind of incidence, the Indian Ocean, rumors abound.
As far as high is this different? It's no different than any type of major earthquake. You are going to have this kind of damage, power is affected, water is affected. You know, gas pumps are affected because there's no power. People are going to have an awakening as far as everything depends on power.
Our job, is to make sure we get all of our information and coordinate all of the responses necessary. You see it is fully activated within 10 minutes after the impact. So that worked out well.
As far as damage, again the assessment has hardly even started. We're still in the emergency mode of search and rescue securement and hazard identification. But from what I can hear so far as far as damage, it does not seem to be the kind of residential damages that we've had in the past. But I think we're going to have some major cost factors here, because the type of structural damage we are receiving involves places in regards to hotels, parks, facilities that will cost a lot to fix.
YOUNG: Are you anticipating requiring federal aid?
KIM: We have already communicated with the state civil defense, that we have already declared a state of emergency here to expedite our operation -- operations rather.
And we have relayed information to state civil defense that once we get a better handle on what has occurred as far as damage, you know, in all likelihood we will be making a request to the state civil defense for emergency declaration also so we can get state financial assistance.
Whether we go to the federal level beyond that we'll have to wait and see what kind of damage report we have. So, you know, to see if we qualify for that level. We have already had contact with Senator Inouye's office, pledging assistance in any way he can. I understand he's going to fly in tomorrow morning for an on-site briefing. So in case any assistance is needed from a federal level, he will expedite.
YOUNG: OK, what are you advising big island residents at this point?
KIM: We have already advised them from early this morning to help us out. No. 1, please stay off all highways if at all possible for a couple reasons, naturally to keep highways clear for emergency vehicles and well as for residents who are getting out of dangerous areas.
Secondly we do have several highways that are still closed. Major highways closed and secondary highways that are closed. And naturally we need to secure the hazards before anyone gets hurt. So we are asking again people stay off the highways because of other things that are typical of those.
Use of phones. Stay off the phones for emergency use only. We have at this time made contact with most if not all of the resorts with regards to requesting all of them to keep people closer to hotels. Stop the tourists for this morning.
We have also asked tour ships that are harbored in Kona at this time to keep people on board. And if possible, if they have everyone accounted for, to go to their next destination because we have problems here as far as resources and you know, truthfully we don't need a couple thousand tourists out on the highways. We do not have power in many places. Power means no gas also.
YOUNG: OK, thank you very much -- Harry Kim from the big island. Thank you, Harry.
KIM: Thank you.
YOUNG: And we have word that the big island does have pockets of power. And so far KITV is the only television station that they're able to reach. If you are a big island resident and you have either photos or information about the damage in your area, please do call or e-mail us at thehawaiichannel.com. Shawn, back to you.
CHING: OK, thanks Pam. Paula is joining us now.
PAULA AKANA, KITV CORRESPONDENT: That's right and we're going to back to Daryl Huff. We're going to listen to him from the airport as we await news on whether or not flights will be leaving out of Honolulu. Right now, flights coming in are being accepted -- Daryl?
DARYL HUFF, KITV CORRESPONDENT: Hi, what you have got here is a pretty secondary disaster as the airport's backup power supply has failed very miserably to serve these people here.
The toilets are totally plugged because they all operate with electricity. And they are not wired into any kind of emergency power. We have really not heard directly anything from state airport officials for a while now. Last we heard, we were being told over the radio that you could catch a flight out. So hundreds and hundreds of people are continuing to be dropped off at the airport where they join a line full of other people with no water and no toilet facilities.
It really is getting to be quite a bad situation here and people still are relying on airlines who also seem to have no real good information about when they'll be able to start checking people in. We're also told that even though there are dozens of airplanes apparently able to fly out, the jetway apparently that connects these airlines to the terminals are not able to operate.
So people have been, who were checked in, were sent back out through security, and many of those have decided to go back to homes or hotels. We've talked to people here who called the airlines and were told to expect their flights. So just watching busload after busload of tourists arrive at an airport that has no functioning bathrooms, no running water. People are being given water by the airlines.
So it is a really significantly bad situation out here. I would not recommend anyone come to the airport for the time being. Reporting live from the Honolulu Airport, Daryl Huff, KITV for Island Television News.
CHING: Daryl, before you go, are you saying there is no power at all at the airport?
HUFF: There is some power here and there. There is power for some fans. So some of the areas around the check-in counters, they have fans set up. So they seem to have some auxiliary power. But there is not enough power to run the computers that check people in. So of course, TSA won't let you in without a boarding pass. So we're told that some of the airlines have begun just now to try and make manual boarding passes to get people to the airplanes. TSA is apparently recognizing those. But that is not happening at interisland terminal as far as I can tell. I just finished walking through the domestic side and international side where there are literally thousands of people standing around waiting for some kind of information or some kind of action.
CHING: So Daryl, the security check points are not up and running at this point as far as you know? HUFF: When they have been operating it's been manually apparently, which has been very slow. I think the wands that they use have batteries in them. So as long as I was there, and I was down there for a couple hours, I didn't see a single person go through the check-ins. It is dead stopped, there is nobody going on airplanes right now.
AKANA: Well what we have heard, listening to Rod Herraga (ph), the state transportation director, is that the TSA is dependent on the state's electrical system and the backup generators just aren't enough at this point in time to run any of the equipment for the screening. So that's probably going to be a big part of the problem.
CHING: That's right. Well, you would assume that the airport would require a tremendous amount of power to keep the entire facility up and running. So state civil defense earlier said that all outbound flights have been canceled, but they are accepting inbound traffic. Daryl, do you know anything about the inbound traffic to Honolulu International?
HUFF: We are seeing some passengers. I think that they were only letting in the planes that were already halfway here. But they have no choice. And I've seen, aside from people who have got off one plane, and then came to try to get into another one. But this idea of backup power. It is just astounding to me.
And one of the passengers said to me, he said, wait a minute, the airport is a key line of evacuation. What this showed was this airport was clearly not ready to evacuate people from Oahu if necessary in a real disaster. And he was just very alarmed about that and I can't say that I am not also.
CHING: Well I think there will be many questions to be asked and of course answered by officials in that capacity regarding what has transpired this morning. For the most part, I think, as Gary reported earlier, I believe that the state civil defense within 10 minutes of the quake, they were assessing the damage, they were taking information in. So until we know further information or have more details...
WHITFIELD: Hello, I'm Fredricka Whitfield in the Atlanta newsroom, you are watching live coverage via satellite from KITV, the U.S. Geological Survey reporting that an earthquake measuring 6.6 has hit Hawaii. Power is out throughout many of the islands there. There is sporadic damage, airports are closed to outbound, rather, traffic. There is some saving grace here however, no tsunami warning. Our Rob Marciano is the weather center and Rob help us understand why no tsunami warning?
ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well the tsunami warning center will put out a warning when they actually get measurements from their sensors that are spewed about the Pacific Ocean. Local tsunamis which can often be the most deadly there is not much time for warning there. They'll happen, 20, 40 minutes after the event. By the time the actual news media got news of this that would have already happened. We have not seen that on the islands. That's good news number one. Good news number two is that the Pacific tsunami warning center has not put out a tsunami warning for people, places on the west coast of the U.S. The west coast of -- of South America. So good news there. You know they actually have to wait for that measurement. There is no telling which way that earth was moving. What happened in Indonesia last year, was the earth actually moved up and down, and it separated, and it created a wave much like you would create a wave in your bathtub if you moved your foot.
There is no way of knowing that actually happens until it happens. Let's go to Google-earth if I could, just to show you a couple things. What we typically think of as an earthquake zone right through here. The California area, where the Pacific plate comes in contact with the North American plate. The actual Hawaiian Islands are not, you know, on the verge of any one particular plate. They're actually right in the middle; I mean the Pacific plate goes around. And in the middle of the Pacific plate that creates these volcanoes. And, we're 95 percent sure that this earthquake was caused or associated with the volcanoes that are on the, especially the big island, there, where there is multiple volcanoes and been erupting for god knows how long.
Long story short, Fredricka, we are not going to see a tsunami out of this. Maybe a sea level rises around the islands themselves. That would have happened already, 6.6 the magnitude. Out of the USGS the Web site, you can go on the Web site by the way. They have recorded upwards of 20 aftershocks. Now, many of those are below 3 magnitudes. So they are not aftershocks that you are actually going to feel. The number of aftershocks, earthquakes after the main one that happened above 3.0, 7 maybe 8 aftershocks. But this is definitely an active event and it is still ongoing. The last one, tough to read this chart here. Last one was, 3.1 magnitude quake.
Latest from here Fredricka, back to you.
WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much Rob. I don't know do I have another time for another question or Rob? Quickly. Weather wise. Oahu being reported to have very foggy skies, the big island, close to the epicenter. Clear skies. How does weather play a role in all this?
MARCIANO: Well the other island besides the big island. Go to gr-115, it will show some clouds that are moving over the western island. That's a front that is going to come through tonight. There is a flood watch out for all the islands with the exception of the big island through tomorrow. There could be more heavy rains. Honolu itself has seen over 19 inches of rainfall since September 1. They normally would see like 1 1/2 or 2. So tremendous amount of rain in this area. Hilo and the big island, not that much rain. Will see rainfall over the next 24 to 48 hours. That doesn't help the situation.
WHITFIELD: All right, Rob Marciano in the weather center. Thank you so much.
MARCIANO: You bet.
WHITFIELD: I think now we are going to return to our affiliate coverage in Honolulu there on island of Oahu, KITV their broadcast is live via satellite.
CHING: Until supplies last.
AKANA: Point about that though. There have been some reports of people calling in, saying they believe that, there is some price- gouging going on out there. They have been charged way more than they normally would, for let's say a single battery. The state consumer protector, this morning, said if you believe that you were charged too much for it. Please keep your receipt or have them write out a receipt. Because there are fines of $10,000 per incident for that. They will be investigating that and they will be accepting calls in the days to follow. If you think you are charged too much for the battery or that flashlight keep a record of it.
CHING: We want to go to the newsroom now Pamela Young is there with more information. Pam.
YOUNG: Shawn we have an update from Maui. So far three rockslides have been reported. Hana highway is closed. Power is being slowly returned to Maui residents. Hospitals, police stations, airport have either power or backup generators working. We have reports that planes are flying out of Maui, however United Airlines reports there are long delays. We do not have that confirmed. This information comes from the news director at Pacific Radio Group, Wendy Osher. So it seems like things are a little better on the island of Maui.
We last spoke to big island mayor Harry Kim who had told us that the Senator has been in contact with his office and will be flying back to Hawaii tomorrow. Harry Kim has been in contact with the state about financial assistance because of the substantial damage. They have to wait for all the damage reports to come in. There may even be FEMA funds available if the damage is extensive enough. Right now we have Scott Ishikawa on the phone right now. Scott what can you tell us?
SCOTT ISHIKAWA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION: Right now all airports on auxiliary power, it's not enough to power the whole airport. So because of that, we are going to discourage folks from coming to the airport for the time being until we can get full power back up here. People who are at the airport. what we are trying to do is process them. Because we're on such limited power, they are going to have to hand search the baggage to get them to board the planes. Whatever flights are heading out. They're going to probably have to use -- we're probably going to have to go on the ramps. I'm not. Probably, not going to be able to use the jet ways, the ramps connect the gates to the planes. So what is going to happen, we are going to have to load them up just like on the neighbor island airports with the manual ramps, which those hard ramps and get them on the plane.
So because of that it will take much longer to get people processed. So what we want to do right now is clear the passengers who are already at the airport. We are going to discourage anybody else from coming down, not to come down for now. Call their carrier, because it appears that there will be delayed flights.
YOUNG: Any canceled flights? ISHIKAWA: Not sure at this time. I'm hearing through the grapevine that there may be some canceled flights as we speak. But right now we are working on purr to get the jet ways -- to get the passengers from the gates to the jets. But because it is going to take a while to process folks anyway. We're going to discourage folks, not to come to the airport for now. Keep off the roads. Until we get full power. We want to clear the passengers that are already at the airport.
YOUNG: Are there any flights that are going to be given priority?
ISHIKAWA: Not at this time. I think it's up to the carriers whether they want to fly out or not. Some air carriers have canceled inbound flights coming in because of the situation. I don't have those details at this time. That's why -- we're going to ask the passengers to call their carriers to get status on that. We also want to keep the airport operating line clear. Right now we have been getting a flood of calls on flight status. We understand people's concern. We are trying to handle official business get the airport up and running quick as we can.
YOUNG: Now Scott we also had news there may be emergency medical flights coming in from the big island. Do we know anything about that?
ISHIKAWA: Not sure about that. But obviously that would be first priority over anything at this point. Like I said the airports are operating right now. All the airports have backup generators to deal with this. But the problem is we don't have enough power to handle the whole airport. Like I said, flights heading out, we are going to discourage folks coming down to the airport. We are still going to accommodate the flights coming in. There is only so much fuel.
YOUNG: OK. Thank you. Scott. Call us again for an update if the situation changes.
ISHIKAWA: Yes. Thank you.
YOUNG: Thank you. Once again the big island is under a state of emergency. Harry Kim is waiting for the assessment damages to determine if there is going to be any state financial assistance or either, federal assistance. We understand power is slowly getting back on Maui, parts of the big island never lost power and we also understand that KITV is the only television station, our broadcast is being broadcast live on CNN for an update on all the earthquake information. Hold on, we have another call. OK. Who's this? Hold on speakerphone. This is? OK. This is Alan Arakawa the mayor from the big island.
ALAN ARAKAWA, MAUI MAYOR: From Maui.
YOUNG: What is your update on Maui?
ARAKAWA: Maui is in pretty good shape. We responded almost immediately after the earthquake. We had, EOC up and running. We have a few landslides in the Hana area, mile marker 38. And a couple of electrical poles down. We have one bridge out in that area that may be down. But other wise, Maui is in pretty good shape. All of our public works systems, our sewer systems, our water systems, and electricity is about 50 percent back on line. The electric company is slowly starting to put everything back on line. And, we know of no major structural damage other than the bridge. And we're not getting any reports of major injuries. There have been no major injuries. Maui is in pretty good shape.
YOUNG: What would you advise Maui residents at this point?
ARAKAWA: We are asking Maui residents to be calm and be patient. Slowly but surely the traffic lights are all coming back on. Power is going to be restored. Except for, there is out past Hana, we are asking people, not to go out there, because the roads are closed out there. The Valley Park closed temporarily until we can assess how the structure is there. But otherwise, it is a nice day on Maui, little bit overcast. But people should go about their normal business and just have a great time.
YOUNG: Now we understand that the planes are flying out of Maui airport?
ARAKAWA: The planes are flying out of Maui airport. We've been pretty much flying most of the time. There was a little bit of a slowdown for a slight period. We're having some difficulty because of lack of electricity. Checkers at the airport were doing hand checks. Planes are flying. Some United Airline flights have been canceled. So we are asking passengers from United Airlines to please call United Airlines and check on their flights. Otherwise everything else seems to be going pretty good. There is no damage reported on Molokai or Lanai as well. Those airports are operating.
YOUNG: Good news. Thank you for calling in mayor.
ARAKAWA: OK. Thank you very much. Have a great day.
YOUNG: You too. We are certainly trying. An update from Maui and the big island. Shawn and Paula back to you.
CHING: All right thank you very much. Want to share with you some information, some contact information if we could show that on the screen there. You can always contact us; reach us via the Hawaii Channel.com. If you have photographs of the damage that occurred on any of islands wherever you may be. Send that to us. Put that on the air so we can share with our viewers. Also there is a number to our newsroom, our direct line if you have any current information please give us a call. Again it is THEHAWAIICHANNEL.com, 808-0535-0440.
AKANA: All right. Gary Sprinkle has been out and about. You have the latest?
SPRINKLE: Yes actually I've been in civil defense for the past 2 1/2 hours. Just come out of a meeting with civil defense director Ed Telxlera (ph) and the lieutenant-governor Iona (ph), the lieutenant- governor Iona (ph) again stressing that people should remain at home, stay off the roads so that emergency responders can do what they need to do. To give you a really good idea about what is going on on the big island. This is what Ed Telxlera (ph) said a few moments ago.
ED TELXLERA (ph): If it hasn't been mentioned already it was a 6.5 quake that occurred about six miles north-northwest of an area on the big island. And our governor has a very good appreciation of what has happened. The reports we are getting in from various places on the big island, Kona, and Hilo, basically spells out we have had some perhaps some major to heavy earthquake damage. There are road closures. There are some roads that are major arteries, in the north-south area, that have got rubble, debris, and one particular road that is a highway on the north area, there is only one lane open. So we have got, with the 6.5 quake, we can expect throughout the day more reports of major damage to our infrastructure.
We know that the North Kona Hospital has been evacuated. They're still doing some work in various places of the hospital complex. But they're doing a structural analysis right now. Through the Kona police department, where our governor is currently located. They have given me an appreciation of the debris and rubble on various roads. And how they're waiting for some support.
SPRINKLE: It just so happened that the Governor Lingo was on the big island for a function last night. So she actually was there for the, biggest rattle and roll of this thing. Now she is, at the Kona police department as he said and she continues to assess the situation. We should mention also that FEMA has rolled into this whole thing. They are beginning to assess the situation to see what they can do to help.
CHING: The mayor Harry Kim said the senator would be traveling to the big island tomorrow for a firsthand look, possibly in regards to the FEMA issue and getting some federal funding in regards to damage that may have happened. Harry Kim said a lot depends on the amount of damage, the monetary amount, depending on if they qualify for certain thresholds of damage, money. There is also some -- damage money possibly from the state coming in as well.
SPRINKLE: State of emergency has been declared for the big island. So it figures that it will get what it needs. Right now the most important thing. I know we keep saying this over and over and over. What people have to understand is that, without clear roads, emergency responders cannot do their work. So people should just stay home. Because nothing is open anyway. That is the best thing they can do.
CHING: What is the mood at state civil defense?
SPRINKLE: It is excellent.
WHITFIELD: All right. You have been watching live coverage of KITV out of Honolu. The last time Hawaii felt an earthquake sizable similar to this one reported this morning was in 1983. The difference here this one measuring 6.6 and jolting a lot of people from their sleep early this morning 7:00 a.m. local time. The concern now however are the aftershocks, there have been a series of aftershocks most of them measuring under 3.5. We talked to the director of the Pacific Tsunami Center who cautioned that another earthquake within the next 24 hours could be trouble. Let's check in with Rob Marciano who is in the weather center. Give me an idea exactly what you and, geologists, and seismologists are all looking at.
MARCIANO: Well I am watching these reports of aftershocks that have come in Fredricka and you are right about that. Most of them on the order of 3, 3.1, 3.2. which would just be barely felt. Anything below a 3 is really pretty much insignificant. The last one was 2.7 at DMT, 20.20. Which is 3:40 Eastern Time. So, still in the morning back there 3:40,minus 6, 9:40 Eastern Time. These have to go through the USGS. They have to analyze them and then they put them out. So there is always a delay. It is rarely in an instantaneous till we get these detailed reports from the USGS.
Couple things. Let's show you where this main earthquake was. They are the islands of Hawaii. And the main 6.6 now was revised, happened right about there. Just about six miles south -- northwest of the coastline, western coastline of the big island of Hawaii. That's where most of the aftershocks have been clustered. They've all been within, about a 50-mile radius of that. Again upwards of 20 aftershocks being recorded by the U.S. G.S. likely a lot more to come in, as we go on through the evening. The hope is to keep these right around the 3.0 magnitude that would not do anymore damage.
There has been a tremendous of rain in the other parts of the islands. So that is a concern, there is a flash flood watch out for all the islands except the big islands. That's good news. They have had unbelievable amounts of rain since September 1st on Honolulu. They had like 19 inches of rain; they typically would get an inch and half maybe two inches. So it has been a very, very wet last month and a half.
As you can imagine in a pretty, hilly terrain, you don't need the earth itself shaking to, to make the rocks and mud and land start to slide, slough off those hillsides. So that is a concern. We have had reports. Right of some hill slides or at least rockslides.
WHITFIELD: We do indeed. We heard that from a lot of our reporters there from our affililiates there in Honolulu who have reported to us rock slides, land slides, roofs collapsing. Thanks to a lot of folks who are providing us some pictures. You are looking at one of the latest images coming in from the big island. These are rocks that have fallen on the highway, which is also the same as highway 19, which is known to be a kind of speedier kind of road. Lower road on the Hilo side of the big island.
And we have also seen some images coming through one of our reports recently. Of other debris that has fallen on the roads. This is becoming a common sight. Not just on the big island but in some of the other island locations as well. If you have any images you are able to share with us whether they be from your cell phone or digital camera or even video. We are encouraging you to send it to CNN.com/exchange.
We want to go back to our affiliate out of Honolulu their live report via satellite KITV. PHYLLIS: We are responding to the emergency. They're making sure that everything was going to be safe. I'm sure if it not safe, some times, they will make the announcement.
YOUNG: Thank you, Phyllis.
PHYLLIS: You are very welcome.
YOUNG: In case you missed the first part of her telephone conversation right now the principals of the big island schools are going to their schools and making damage assessments to see if the structures are safe enough for school tomorrow. If you are a parent and have a student in a big island school, wait for word from the board of education. Don't call in. They don't know anything just yet. They may not know until tomorrow. Sit tight and wait for word on whether or not to send your child to school.
Back to you Paula, Shawn.
AKANA: Thank you very much Pam. We have another caller on the line, Mark Lynx. He was talking about what was happening in some of the stores. Mark.
MARK LYNX, GROCERY STORE OWNER: Yes, hello.
AKANA: Mark, what company are you with?
LYNX: With Lynx Company. We do produce and other things, I was here at my store. A couple customers were in here during the earthquake. A lot of the shelves fell over, a couple customers were trapped. OK.
AKANA: Where is your store located?
LYNX: You know where Costco is? On the other side of Costco.
AKANA: Which Costco are we talking about?
AKANA: We're wondering which Costco, which area are you in?
LYNX: We are, off in Honolu.
AKANA: Did they need medical attention?
LYNX: Yes, we had a bunch of ambulances. A couple had broken legs. One of the customers, a regular customer, and his leg was broken. And a lot of my store was damaged. Seems there is a hole in the side of the wall that was not there before a big crack. Couple of lights broke. It was pretty bad.
AKANA: How many people did you have in the store at the time?
LYNX: Probably about 13.
CHING: Thank you very much. LYNX: Thank you.
AKANA: All right.
CHING: You were in the area right?
GUTIERREZ: I was in the area actually I was in several areas. We decided to see how stores were dealing with some of the earthquake damage. We went, our first stop was at the Poly Longs and Safeway. At Safeway they told me a lot of things did come down off the shelves. They of course were able to clean that up. They have no power. I think we may have pictures from a little earlier this morning. That we may be able to show you in a moment. But first up, we had the Poly Area where Safeway and Longs were both completely shut down. There were some customers who were waiting outside.
Then we went over to the Vineyard Zippy's and there was a line of customers there, mainly waiting for coffee, breakfasts. Around 9:30 they started shutting down as well. Then later on we want to -- the area where we had the earthquake, report from Mark Lynx just a moment ago.
First, Safeway, just a handful of people who have been outside just hoping that the store will open. But at this point they will not go back on line until the electricity goes on or they can get their backup generators at least back and running. Here is Home Depot, which was the only store we can find open in the downtown Honolulu area. People have been coming in a steady stream to buy things such as charcoal, some bottled water. Some are getting propane tanks refilled. They're only accepting cash. At last check they only had a handful of D batteries, and they were just about of C batteries and they still have a few generators.
Just got handed this. There was a report of another aftershock a just moment ago. This is from the U.S. Geological Survey; it was at 10:35 this morning just about 20 minutes ago. Magnitude 4.2, which is light, much less powerful than the 6.3 we had earlier. This one was located just about 12 miles to the north-northwest. So very, very close to the area where the initial earthquake happened at 7:08 this morning.
So if you felt another shock, 4.2, relatively light again right around the same area. And this is the latest from the U.S. Geological Survey. This is a computer-generated program that is set off by the, seismologists, and once they get of course more information they're able to review what the actual data they'll revise this, 4.2. probably an aftershock from what we had this morning.
AKANA: We have had about 20 aftershocks from this morning.
GUTIERREZ: Uh-huh. Yes. That is the latest we have on that. We will try to get you the latest on this one as well.
CHING: Of course no tsunami warning issued today for any of the quakes, initial quakes and all of the subsequent aftershocks. GUTIERREZ: Generally a 7.0 to generate a tsunami. This was a tsunami in Hawaiian waters it would be quick for it to be generated and travel. These waves can travel up to 500 miles an hour. It would have hit within a matter of minutes. Pacific tsunami warning center saying no tsunami is generated. And of course that is good news. That was very quickly established because that is one thing that is established very rapidly for a quake this close.
CHING: Now Ben another thing that we should touch on is that weather wise there is a flash flood warning or watch?
GUTIERREZ: It is now a watch. We were under flash flood warning earlier this morning. That has been canceled by the national weather service. We have the cold front coming in at the same time. Which is complicating matters as far as clean-up or not making it as easy for people who don't have power to get around. By and large, if you don't have to be out on the roads, stay home, stay put. Stay where you are. Get the latest information. Looks like we will have light shakers here and there as far as the earthquakes. The aftershocks and we still have that rain to contend with. Some could get heavy.
CHING: Flood advisories for where?
GUTIERREZ: Oahu, Maui County, only the big island is not under a flash flood watch. Everybody else is under a flash flood watch.
AKANA: All right. Thank you very much Ben. We'll return now to Pamela in the newsroom. Pamela.
YOUNG: We have an update from the island. There is no major damage reported the island farthest from the epicenter. Lavanet Internet Service is up and running. And of course KITV appears to be the only station that is broad casting continuing earthquake coverage, also being aired live on CNN. We are being flooded by phone calls from Hilo, big island residents. Right now, Francine Sousa from Hilo, where were you when the earthquake struck?
FRANCINE SOUSA: We had gotten up. My boys 5 and 7 in their bunk beds. Going to take a shower. I never got the shower. I thought it was my sons hitting the wall. Started yelling at the boys. And it got stronger and stronger. Then there was no way I tried to get out of the bathroom to get to them. I couldn't. Our swimming pool, we have an in ground swimming pool in the back yard, the waves you could hear the waves hitting the side of the pool. We have a miniature tsunami in our backyard. My parents were able to make their way down the hallway to the boys.
YOUNG: Now why couldn't you reach your sons?
SOUSA: When it stopped, yes.
YOUNG: OK. Now what about damage to your home?
SOUSA: We had a lot of things knocked off the shelves. We checked on, so far we can't see anything. And we checked the pool to see if there were any cracks in the pool. But we didn't see anything. But the kids felt like they were on horses.
YOUNG: Do you have full power restored?
SOUSA: Yes, we finally did.
YOUNG: Are you in contact with any of your neighbors? How are they faring?
SOUSA: They're fine. We're just staying indoors. Kind of staying off the roads. You know, keeping the faith. Stuff like that.
YOUNG: Has anyone contacted you from the schools to let you know what the situation is tomorrow?
SOUSA: Not yet.
YOUNG: We got a call in from the wife of a principal who says that the principals are going out to the schools today to assess the damage and will let residents know later on whether or not you should get your kids to school tomorrow.
YOUNG: Francine Sousa from Hilo thank you very much for calling.
SOUSA: Thank you, Pamela.
YOUNG: OK. Back to you Shawn and Paula. .
AKANA: All right, thanks, Pam. You know, we have a water alert from the Board of Water Supply. Su Chin (ph) from the Board of Water Supply called in and we want to remind people out there to please conserve water. It's raining, but not enough right now and reservoirs are filled with pumps.
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