Washington, D.C. – Today, the Senate Commerce Committee voted to advance the Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act of 2015, H.R. 34. U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) offered an amendment, adopted with bipartisan support, which would improve tsunami research by including key historical data and strengthen preparedness programs in coastal communities.
“As an island state with over 700 miles of coastline, a reliable tsunami warning system is critical to protecting our communities. We must do all that we can to be better prepared for an event that affords only minutes or hours for people to respond,” said Senator Schatz. “My legislation will strengthen our tsunami detection, forecast, warning, research, and mitigation program to better protect Hawai‘i’s communities and save lives.”
The Schatz amendment made the following key improvements:
Major tsunami events are infrequent enough that relying on modern records alone could easily overlook past tsunami threats revealed in the geological record. Having a thorough understanding of the full range of tsunami threats a community faces is critical for resilience planning.
The existing network of tsunami buoys provides an essential first line of defense to detect and forecast tsunami, but their scope is limited by the costs of deployment and maintenance. In order to create a more robust system with limited resources, the amendment encourages NOAA to explore how tsunami detection and research sensors could be deployed along with telecommunications cables.
Evacuating from the lower floors of a building to its upper floors is considered to be not only viable, but the best practice when a tsunami is only minutes away. Just as the high density of tall buildings in a typical downtown district can create a canyon effect to amplify the force of winds, understanding their effect on strength and current of flood water may help to ensure the viability of evacuating to the upper floors of a building.
More and more communities understand the necessity of resilience planning at the whole-community scale, but the structure of federal government is not always nimble enough to adapt to support local needs. The amendment language authorizes public-private partnerships to address coastal resilience, together with the formation of 501(c)(3) foundations in order to accept and use non-federal funding to address tsunami preparedness.
HONOLULU – The State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) encourages the 18,000 HMSA members who may have sought treatment in one of the 14 mainland states where Anthem Inc. operates, and Anthem members who have moved to Hawaii, to visit AnthemFacts.com following the company’s security breach.
Members will be able to find out how to take advantage of services offered by the company including identity repair assistance, child identity protection and free credit monitoring.
The Hawaii Insurance Division and the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) will continue to monitor the situation, and suggests that consumers take extra precautions, such as reviewing their credit reports for signs of fraudulent activity.
“We will continue discussions with Anthem and HMSA to ensure the members affected are notified in a timely manner and informed of the next steps and protections offered,” said Gordon Ito, insurance commissioner.
OCP is also reminding consumers to be alert for scammers who may try to take advantage of the Anthem security breach.
“This is a good time to remind everyone to never provide personal information to anyone unless you’re 100 percent sure that they are who they say they are,” said Stephen Levins, executive director for OCP. “The main point is to exercise caution. Just because someone says they’re calling from your bank or health insurance company, doesn’t mean that they are.”
Consumers should also be on the alert for phony emails. If you receive an email from Anthem asking for your personal information, do not provide it. Check with Anthem or HMSA through the phone number you usually use or one from the phonebook, confirm that the contact information is legitimate.
The Anthem Inc. security breach affects customers from Amerigroup, Anthem and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield companies, Caremore and Unicare. Blue Cross and Blue Shield members who received treatment in one of the 14 states where Anthem Inc. operates including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin may also be impacted.
WAILUKU – The Maui County Department of Transportation has announced changes to the Maui Bus Upcountry Islander and Kula Villager routes, beginning Saturday, February 28.
The changes are as follows:
The Kula Highway bus stop fronting Long’s at Kulamalu will be relocated within Kulamalu, near the roundabout closest to the County park and will become the new meeting point for the Upcountry Islander and Kula Villager. Kulamalu developer Everett Dowling has worked closely with the Maui County Department of Transportation to allow access to this area.
The area within Kulamalu will be designated as a “No Parking” area, and drivers will be asked to use adjacent parking to avoid blocking traffic. Signs will be posted, new schedules prepared and information posted on the County website at www.mauicounty.gov/Bus. For more information, please contact the Department of Transportation at 270-7511.
Honolulu – Memorial services have been set to honor the life and legacy of Mele Carroll, the former 13th District state representative who died last week after a long battle with cancer. Services will be held first on O’ahu before final services are held on Maui.
On Maui, a memorial service will be held on Sunday, March 15, at Ballard Family Mortuary, 440 Ala Makani Street in Kahului. Viewing will be held from 9-11 a.m. with service to follow from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. A final viewing will be held from 1-2:30 p.m. Internment will take place at 3 p.m. at Valley Isle Memorial Park in Haiku (off Hana Highway). Lei and floral arrangements are welcomed at the Maui service.
Before that, A memorial service on O’ahu for the late state representative has been set for Friday, March 6, at Borthwick Mortuary, 1330 Maunakea Street (between North Vineyard Boulevard and North Kukui Street). A public viewing will be held between 4-6 p.m., with service to follow at 6-7 p.m. A Celebration of Life will also be held from 7-8:30 p.m. Lei are welcomed at the Oahu service.
WAILUKU – The Maui County Hazard Mitigation Planning Steering Committee invites all Maui County residents to participate in updating the countywide Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP). A community meeting will be conducted to introduce the HMP planning process on Tuesday, March 3, from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the Kula Community Center, located at 3690 E. Lower Kula Rd.
The meeting will be held in conjunction with a Community Wildfire Protection Plan community meeting being held that evening. Residents, local officials, industry representatives, educators, and others are encouraged to attend.
Staff will be available on-site to answer questions, and hazard risk maps will be available to visualize the estimated damages that potential natural hazards such as earthquakes or floods could cause in Maui County. Personal preparedness information also will be provided and available to take home.
Maui County is in the process of updating its 2010 Hazard Mitigation Plan to ensure eligibility for future mitigation funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This detailed plan addresses a variety of potential natural hazards that could affect some or all of the county’s residents.
A County webpage is now available at www.mauicounty.gov/hazard as a means of informing and engaging the public in the hazard mitigation planning process. This site will include an online hazard awareness survey and sections of the Draft Plan as they become available. The public is encouraged to take the online survey, review the Draft Plan and provide input to the HMP planning process.
“The update of this plan will allow the County to continue to be eligible for future mitigation funding from FEMA for both public and private property,” said Emergency Management Officer Anna Foust. “As residents become more aware of the potential hazards that could impact our county, our community becomes less vulnerable, more resilient, and recover more quickly when disaster does strike.”
Any questions or comments regarding this process may be directed to Anna Foust at Maui County Civil Defense Agency, ph. (808) 270-7285 or email email@example.com.
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