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Crews assessing and cleaning up damage in Hawaii

March 14, 2011
The Maui News

HONOLULU (AP) - Crews were busy over the weekend cleaning up and assessing damage, while American Red Cross volunteers were helping people after tsunami waves battered Hawaii early Friday.

Red Cross officials said damage assessment teams focused Saturday on locations in Kona and Kealakekua on the Big Island, and Wailuku, Spreckelsville and Kihei; crews on Sunday assisted residents in Molokai.

About 35 apartments and homes suffered substantial damage from the tsunami, with the most severely hit areas on Molokai at Kamalo, Red Cross spokeswoman Maria Lutz said.

Red Cross volunteers worked on addressing what Lutz termed the ''immediate needs'' of people, including food and clothing.

Donations were also coming in to the Red Cross to help people in Hawaii, but Lutz did not have an estimate of how much had been contributed so far.

No one was reported killed when the tsunami hit Hawaii, but a 79-year-old man visiting from British Columbia was hospitalized after nearly drowning off a beach near a Waikiki Beach hotel in a tsunami surge Friday.

''The water was waist-deep as it receded,'' ocean safety Capt. Paul Merino said.

''It got sucked back with the high tide surge, and it came in and knocked him down and he rolled under the water. I've been a lifeguard 35 years in Waikiki, and I've never seen it recede and come in as frequent with this force,'' he said.

Lifeguards were able to revive the man before he was transported to a hospital.

The man's name and condition were not available, but the president of the nonprofit Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii, Jessica Lani Rich, said that after being placed on a respirator, the man was able to breathe on his own.

Civil Defense spokeswoman Shelly Ichishita said her agency is still working up damage estimates before determining whether Gov. Neil Abercrombie should ask President Barack Obama for a presidential disaster declaration.



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