Monday, October 16, 2006


Update: FEMA delegation to Hawaii increased to 75

The Big Island has come through the two Sunday morning earthquakes quite well. Read a Star-Bulletin summary here. Another Star-Bulletin article notes that hospitals are in good shape and ready. Perhaps the best way to review the situation is through the photos and comments posted on the West Hawaii Today website.

Big Island state representative Josh Green emails the following report:
Emergency Update

6.5 Earthquake off the Kona Coast

No fatalities or serious injuries have been reported at this time even though this was an earthquake with a 6.5 magnitude.

As your representative, I want to make you aware that the Kona Hospital  has suffered structural damage but is still administering assistance or safe transfer to other medical sites. If you have a medial emergency call 911. The phone number of Kona Hospital is 322-9311 and they can update you on the level of their operation at this time. Civil Defense is on the scene and working hand in hand with the Kona Hospital administration.


I have contacted the highest level of the state government office including Governor Lingle's team, as well as the Hawaii Air Ambulance to make sure they are operational and to apprise them of the situation.

The state's Disaster Medical Assistance Team has arrived in Kona and is helping to coordinate emergency care during this disaster.

Please stay tuned to Big Island Civil Defense for updates...importantly keep your families as safe as possible by avoiding unnecessary travel until all is clear.

I will keep you updated as necessary.
In the face of these non-problems, FEMA has escalated its support and has increased its delegation to 75 people:
Some 75 Emergency Response Team Advance members of the the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency are scheduled to arrive on the Big Island today from Oakland, California.
All of this is good news, including FEMA attention to our problems. I, for one, was afraid that Hawaii was just too far away for FEMA to notice when disaster did strike. The weather is not so bad and I guess they suddenly decided to heed Governor Lingle's declaration of a state of emergency to come over and check out the Big Island.

Why would anyone even question the arrival of this growing delegation of FEMA officials? The contrast in their response to the four 2004 hurricanes that swept through Jeb Bush's Florida and their neglect (up to this date) of New Orleans has already been noted (here, for example).

Could Hawaii governor Linda Lingle's close relationship with George Bush have anything to do with the attention FEMA is paying to the Big Island today? That's great for Hawaii but sad for the New Orleans diaspora who remain in exile from their homes. And of course, who mostly vote Democratic.

Hawaii's governer Lingle is running for reelection in just a couple of weeks from now. Indeed, she has made points by being able to summon federal aid so quickly. I can't get New Orleans out of my mind, though. Perhaps she could put in a few good words for them while FEMA is here.


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