US Tsunami Damage Exceeds $50 Million, Estimates Say

March 14, 2011

While the United States did not see anything close to the damage that continues to worsen in Japan, but estimates say that tsunami waves that followed Friday’s earthquake have caused more than $50 million in damage in the western part of the country.

Governor Neil Abercrombie, in Hawaii, issued an emergency proclamation that will allow his state to seek federal aid, after harbor facilities and boats were damaged, and homes and hotels were flooded.

Ed Teixeria, vice director of Hawaii’s State Civil Defense says the initial property damage estimate for state-owned property is at least $3 million. Privately-owned property is still being assessed.

According to Teixeria the piers in Keehi Lagoon and a small harbor in Haleiwa, both on Oahu, were among the areas suffering the most damage, while seven homes were flooded, and one dragged out to sea in Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii. As well, he said, nine cars were also flooded there, with one dragged into the bay, and the commercial side of the harbor also saw damage.

In Oregon, Governor John Kitzhaber and U.S. Senator Jeff Merkely also requested disaster declarations, in order to begin recovery programs for residents. Oregon officials estimated an excess of $10 million in damage at Ports Orford, Gold Beach, and Brookings.

As well, a man from Bend, OR, who ignored warnings to avoid the beach, was washed out to sea while attempting to take pictures of the tsunami waves.

California also saw damage. Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in Del Norte, Humbolt, San Mateo, and Santa Cruz counties. There was at least $17 million in damage to the Santa Cruz harbor with 50 damaged boats, and 17 that completely sank. That estimate, however, does not include the “full extent of damage and the impact to personal property,” where are still unknown.

The Santa Cruz harbor has been designated a Coast Guard Safety Zone, and has been closed to all vessel traffic until oil and debris removal has been completed, and pollution and public safety issues have been addressed, along with the removal of any navigational hazards.

Japan’s earthquake and tsunami losses are estimated at between $15 billion to $35 billion.