Monday, October 15, 2007

One-Year Anniversary

We were all shaken up one year ago when a 6.7-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of the Big Island just as the sun was rising on our little patch in the Pacific.

The Big Island was hit the hardest, but the injuries, structural damage, landslides and lasting power outages affected folks throughout the state. Long lines formed outside ABC Stores in Waikiki. When evening came, neighbors chipped in candles, hibachis and food that they couldn't keep cold in the fridge and made the best of an inconvenient situation, BBQ-ing and talking story in the streets.

In the 2007 session, the legislature looked at ways to speed earthquake relief efforts and make sure that Hawaii is prepared for an earthquake - or any disaster - when one strikes again. Among the bills passed were two measures which set aside money for both short- and long-term solutions. The legislature appropriated funds for earthquake relief, like repairs to damaged schools and hospitals, and for the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to investigate the power outages that lasted for days in some places.

As the Advertiser editorialized this morning, while we've taken many important steps, there remains much "unfinished business" on this one-year anniversary. Even though a year has passed, it's still important for us to keep in mind what happened that day, what went wrong, and what we can do to make sure the right mechanisms are in place the next time around.

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