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(Tues., March 2, 2010)—Mayor Mufi Hannemann said today that responding to Saturday’s tsunami warning cost the City approximately $330,000, including overtime for police and firefighters and lost revenue from City facilities that were closed, but that there is no doubt the expenses were fully justified.


            “It was well worth it, given the excellent response we had,” Hannemann said. “The human and financial costs of failing to prepare for and respond effectively to a natural disaster such as a tsunami would be horrendous.”


            Hannemann said City departments are currently debriefing and analyzing their performance in Saturday’s warning, seeking to identify any ways they may improve.


            “This warning served as an excellent preparation experience for whatever incidents we may have in the future—and such incidents can happen at any time,” Hannemann said.


Shortly after the tsunami potential was detected, Hannemann instructed that the City and County of Honolulu Emergency Operating Center be activated and fully staffed. The Center was activated at 9:14 p.m., on Friday, Feb. 26, to coordinate City emergency preparation and response activities, and remained open throughout the night and next day, until the danger had passed.


The mayor, who was returning from a meeting with federal transit officials and other City business in Washington D.C., received regular updates on the situation during the night and as he traveled home, and assisted with coordination of the City’s response during a layover in Houston.


The Mayor especially thanked City Managing Director Kirk Caldwell, the Cabinet and family of first responders, especially Department of Emergency Management Director Melvin Kaku, Police Chief Louis Kealoha, Fire Chief Kenneth Silva and Emergency Services Department Director Elizabeth Char.


Hannemann also thanked state and neighbor island county officials involved in the response, and expressed his appreciation to the public and the business community for their cooperation, especially the visitor industry, which he said did a fine job assisting guests.




Media contact: Bill Brennan, Mayor’s Office, 768-6928