MAALAEA - Civil Defense officials from Oahu surveyed Lahaina and Maalaea harbors as well as areas in Spreckelsville on Monday afternoon to assess damage caused by Friday's tsunami.
Two officials were on Maui and two others were on Molokai investigating and documenting the damage by taking photos and interviewing residents.
The visit was aimed at gathering information to determine whether Hawaii tsunami victims could qualify for disaster relief from agencies such as the Small Business Administration and Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Anson Kimura, a disaster assistance planner with the state Civil Defense Agency.
Eddie Chung-Hoon, of the state Civil Defense Agency, surveys tsunami damage to beachfront homes in Spreckelsville with Charnan Carroll, of the county’s Civil Defense Agency, on Monday afternoon. Government officials were continuing to assess damage from Friday’s tsunami to determine if residents are eligible for federal disaster relief.
The Maui News / AMANDA COWAN photo
Today, Gov. Neil Abercrombie is expected to tour sites on Maui and other islands affected by the tsunami. The state estimates the tsunami caused tens of millions of dollars in damage.
A tsunami hit the islands early Friday morning after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake shook Japan at 7:46 p.m. Thursday Hawaii time. Initially, the earthquake's magnitude was put at 8.9.
Kimura surveyed Maalaea Harbor by taking photos and talking to cruise boat workers. He said it's important to document reports of tsunami damage.
"If they can show pictures of whatever damages they have, that's going to help justify (the reports)," Kimura said.
Maui's Civil Defense, the county and the American Red Cross are working together to gather information about damage.
While officials were assessing damage, workers with the county Department of Parks and Recreation were busy cleaning up debris left behind at Kanaha Beach Park, which was closed Monday.
County Parks Director Glenn Correa said Kanaha Beach Park would be open today, although some damage remained Monday, such as 6- to 10-foot dropoffs where the tsunami sheared away huge chunks of sand from the shore.
A 6-foot drop was near one of the park's showers, and workers were putting up orange fences to keep people out of such hazardous areas.
The Kanaha Beach Park campsite as well as Kaa Point, also known as "Kite Beach," was closed until further notice because the area remained flooded, Correa said.
Baldwin Beach Park in Paia was expected to stay closed today because Correa said its parking lots were flooded and it could be hazardous for vehicles to go there.
Kalepolepo Park in Kihei also remained closed because the tsunami carried away huge amounts of sand, Correa said. The park had steep dropoffs, but Correa did not know the extent of them.
Maui County's Department of Parks and Recreation still needs to secure special management area permits to replace sand lost at beach parks affected by the tsunami.
Other damage assessments trickled in Monday. Ryan Piros, deputy communications director for Maui County, said county officials were working on an ongoing effort to assess damage, including an appeal to residents for reports of tsunami damage.
Maui County Council Member Riki Hokama said the Manele Small Boat Harbor sustained some tsunami damage, which affected its pier and some vehicles.
The Expeditions ferry to Lahaina was delayed, but on Sunday it resumed service, and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources was preparing to make repairs at Manele, Hokama said.
The Hawai'i Tourism Authority reported that the Lanai ferry was operating, but using smaller vessels.
The island's commercial harbor at Kaumalapau was not affected, Hokama said.
"We have volunteers in the community ready to go with equipment, materials and supplies," Hokama said. "We are grateful that the damage was so comparatively minor, and our small community will all pull together . . . We feel very fortunate and lucky."
During the tsunami, the Salvation Army's Emergency Disaster Team helped evacuate homeless campers and their pets. The response team is made up of the Salvation Army shelter's clients, who also are homeless.
People were taken to shelters such as the War Memorial Gym and the Kihei Community Center.
They also were supplied with water and food.
Cliff Spencer, director of the Salvation Army's Emergency Disaster Services, estimated 350 to 500 people were at the War Memorial shelter.
The team responded to three minor medical emergencies with basic first aid and also gave out more than 1,500 bottles of water, snacks and "too much coffee to keep count of," a report said.
Spencer said the team depleted its emergency supplies of water and snacks and would like donations to help restock.
* Melissa Tanji can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article includes a correction from the original published on Tuesday, Mar. 15, 2011. Maui County's Department of Parks and Recreation still needs to secure special management area permits to replace sand lost at beach parks affected by the tsunami. The Maui News apologizes for the error.