Maui News

Governor Proclaims April Tsunami Awareness Month

March 22, 2010, 3:23 PM HST
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Governor Linda Lingle today proclaimed April as Tsunami Awareness month, announcing educational activities on Oahu, Molokai and the Big Island.

“Hawai‘i is fortunate that the February 8.8 earthquake in Chile did not produce destructive waves in our islands,” said Lingle.  “The potential threat of a tsunami provided an opportunity to test our warning system and practice safe and orderly evacuation,” she said.

During the last century, Lingle said a total of 221 people lost their lives to tsunamis in Hawai‘i, making tsunamis the most deadly natural disaster in the state.

While residents and visitors may have between four and 10 hours of preparation time to evacuate to higher ground in anticipation of a tsunami, Hawai‘i remains at risk for tsunamis from local sources. In her proclamation, the governor stated that residents and visitors should immediately evacuate to higher ground if they are near the water and feel a strong shaking from an earthquake.

“Everyone should know the natural warning signs for a tsunami because there may not be time to issue an official warning,” said Lingle.  “There is no season for tsunamis. Therefore, education is the key to saving lives,” said Lingle.

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program have designated March 21 – 27, 2010 as Tsunami Awareness Week.  In observance, NOAA’s National Weather Service and some state emergency management organizations will exercise tsunami response plans on March 24 along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic and Pacific coasts, including Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Alaska and Hawai‘i.

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April 2010 is Tsunami Awareness Month. Events being held in coordination with the proclamation are the following:

  • On March 22, 2010, a kickoff event will be held at Ka Waihona o ka Na‘auao Public Charter School in Nānākuli on O‘ahu. Organized by NOAA and State Civil Defense, the event emphasizes tsunami education as the key to saving lives. The program includes a welcome by Principal Alvin Parker; a science presentation by Pacific Tsunami Warning Center geophysicist, Dr. Gerard Fryer; and tsunami talk story and Q&A led by Civil Defense volunteer Manny Mattos.
  • Other events taking place throughout the month include a free admission day at the Pacific Tsunami Museum’s Open House on April 10;
  • Mauka to Makai Earth Day on April 10 at the Waikīkī Aquarium;
  • Moloka‘i Earth Day on April 22 at the Mitchell Pau‘ole Community Center;
  • and Hilo Earth Day on April 23, at Hawai‘i Community College.

Governor Lingle and Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona issued the proclamation declaring the month of April 2010 as Tsunami Awareness Month in Hawaii, encouraging citizens and visitors to learn all they can regarding tsunamis in order to evacuate as quickly as possible when necessary.

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