Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Disaster unpreparedness

by Larry Geller

The University of Hawaii knew that the roof of Hamilton Library was leaking. They planned to fix it. Next summer.

Now they're dealing with major damage and the additional expense of freezing and decontaminating a large number of books. The news is just out in this Advertiser story:

Emergency crews are removing books and other documents from the third floor of University of Hawai'i at Manoa's Hamilton Library, which sustained extensive damage tied to the recent heavy rains, according to a UH news release.

The damage is apparently caused by leaks in the roof of the library, according to the release.

A major roof repair project was scheduled to begin next summer.

Did they think it just wouldn't rain until next summer for their convenience?

This state did not inspect its dams, and when they broke, seven people were killed. The sirens don't work but we'll have to wait to fix them. The Governor convenes secret meetings on disaster communications so we (the people) had no part in the process.

In the end we are the ones who lose. Students have now lost access to the damaged books. Should a major storm hit, lives could be lost.

Have you been given an evacuation plan? Who has the keys to the shelter you're supposed to escape to? What about those in the care of nursing homes or care homes, will they be looked after? Why the same questions today as last year and the year before?

Where is oversight of the state's planning?

Maybe the Legislature could consider asking the Legislative Auditor to review the entire situation. The people need to know.

This time it was just books. Next time it could be worse.


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