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  America
Disaster Declared as Quake Hits Hawaii
People wait to buy food in Kihei, Hawaii

Gov. Linda Lingle issued a disaster declaration on Oct.15 for the entire state of Hawaii after a strong earthquake hit the islands.

In the declaration, Lingle said the earthquake caused damage to buildings and public and private roads throughout the state

A strong earthquake shook Hawaii early Sunday, causing a landslide that blocked a major highway on Hawaii Island and knocking out power across the state, authorities said. Gov. Linda Lingle issued a disaster declaration for the entire state.

The state Civil Defense had unconfirmed reports of injuries, but communication problems prevented more definite reports. People were also trapped in elevators in Oahu, authorities said.

Lingle said in a radio interview with KSSK from Hawaii Island that she had no report of any fatalities. She said boulders fell on highways, rock walls collapsed and television had been knocked off stands.

"We were rocking and rolling," said Anne LaVasseur, who was on the second floor of a two-story, wood-framed house on the east side of the Big Island when the temblor struck. "I was pretty scared. We were swaying back and forth, like King Kong's pushing your house back and forth."

The quake hit at 7:07 a.m. local time, 10 miles north-northwest of Kailua Kona, a town on the west coast of the Big Island, said Don Blakeman, a geophysicist at the National Earthquake Information Center, part of the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Pacific Tsunami Center reported a preliminary magnitude of 6.5, while the U.S. Geological Survey gave a preliminary magnitude of 6.6. It was followed by several strong aftershocks, including one measuring a magnitude of 5.8, the Geological Survey said.

Blakeman said there was no risk of a Pacific-wide tsunami, but a possibility of significant wave activity in Hawaii.

On Hawaii Island, also known as the Big Island, there was some damage in Kailua-Kona and landslide along a major highway, said Gerard Fryer, a geophysicist at the Pacific Tsunami Center.

Officials were concerned there may be "structural integrity" problems at the big hospital in Kona in the Big Island, Lingle said. Rod Haraga, director of the state Transportation Department, told radio station KSSK the hospital was being evacuated.

Betsy Garties, who lives in North Kohala, on the northern tip of Hawaii Island said she was lying in bed with one of her two young children when the quake struck.

"First I heard a rumbling. Then the house started to shake. Then broken glass," Garties said. She first stood under a door frame as safety experts advise, then found that too wobbly for comfort and ran into the yard.

"It was strong enough that it was wobbling, so you almost lost your balance running out into the yard," Garties said. "The house was visibly rocking."

Peggy Cardoza, an assistant manager at a fast food restaurant in Hilo, said she was at work when the earthquake struck.

"We just felt the ground shaking," Cardoza said. "We just stood here and watched everything shake."

Power at least partially knocked out on every island, said Civil Defense spokesman Lani Goldman. On Oahu, 95 percent of customers were without power, he said. Authorities said some of the power outages may have been due to heavy rainfall.

Airports were functioning despite the power outages, though slowly.

Heraga said that inbound flights were being allowed to land, but outgoing flights were not taking off because the TSA doesn't have enough power to screen passengers.

Resorts in Kona were being asked to keep people close to hotels, Big Island Mayor Harry Kim told television station KITV. Cruise ships were asked to keep tourists on board, and ships that were due to dock with tourists were asked to move on to their next location, he said.

"We are dealing with a lot of scared people," he said.

Dan Fields, editor of The Sanford (N.C.) Herald, was on his honeymoon at the Hilton Waikoloa Village resort when the earthquake struck. He said there were some cracks visible on the resort's buildings, but the damage appeared to be superficial.

"There are piles of shoes and luggage on the floor shops, and in the coffee shop there is ground coffee all over the floor," said Fields. "Tiles have fallen off the roof, things like that. Structurally it seems to be fine." (AP)




 

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