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Officials to inspect for damage



Published: Tue, October 17, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



There were no reports of deaths or serious injuries.

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) -- A favorite pidgin expression in Hawaii -- "Lucky you live Hawaii" -- gained new meaning Monday as authorities quickly restored electricity and started to clear away boulders after the strongest earthquake to hit the islands in more than two decades.

Twenty-four hours after Sunday's 6.7-magnitude quake, there were no reports of any deaths or serious injuries, and there were few signs of any major damage from the quake or several aftershocks, including one measuring 6.0.

"It lets you know Mother Nature is doing her thing," said Robin Eising, a teacher at Waikoloa Elementary School, which was closed for the day for inspection. "It was a wake-up call."

Inspections

Still, officials cautioned that they needed to inspect the many bridges, roads, earthen dams, schools and other structures across the Big Island, the isle closest to the epicenter. There were no immediate estimates of the overall damage.

Ray Lovell, state Civil Defense spokesman, said a loss estimate was not immediately available because damage was so scattered. "It's just premature to come up with dollar estimates right now," he said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency was flying a 75-member response team to Honolulu on Monday with plans to go to the Big Island today.

Utilities restored power to 97 percent of the state's customers by early morning. That figure was expected to reach nearly all by the end of the day. Most of Oahu, the most populous island, with more than 800,000 of Hawaii's 1.2 million residents, had been blacked out Sunday.

The quake hit at 7:07 a.m., 10 miles north-northwest of Kailua-Kona, on the west coast of the Big Island. On Monday, the U.S. Geological Survey raised its measurement of the magnitude to 6.7 from a preliminary 6.6.

At least one stretch of road leading to a bridge near the epicenter collapsed, Civil Defense Agency spokesman Dave Curtis said.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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