KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) – Preliminary damage estimates from the earthquake that shook Hawaii over the weekend hit $46 million on Tuesday, and President Bush declared a major disaster, opening the way for federal aid.

Damage to seven schools and a harbor on the island of Hawaii accounted for most of the preliminary figure, said Janet Snyder, a spokeswoman for Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim. Damage to businesses, homes, roads and bridges accounted for the rest.

“These figures are going to change radically, I believe,” because information continued to stream in, Snyder said.

The damage estimate included $31 million for schools, $8 million at Kawaihae harbor, $4.89 million to businesses, $650,000 to homes, $800,000 to roads and $750,000 to bridges, Snyder said.

Gov. Linda Lingle said during a news conference that it was premature to provide a statewide damage estimate.

“I think we’re going to see damage that we didn’t see immediately,” she said, noting that some homeowners discovered roof leaks during Monday’s rains.

An aftershock early Tuesday widened a crack on a pier at Kawaihae harbor and further damaged a second pier, said Rod Haraga, the state transportation director. The temblor was listed at magnitude 4.0 on the Web site of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory after review by a seismologist.

The concrete pier where container ships off load their goods pulled away from the main port area where those containers are processed. The gap was as wide as 13 inches in some spots, which prompted the U.S. Coast Guard to shut the entire facility. The port is the life line of the west side of the island.

“See those people over there? Everything they had for lunch, everything they had for dinner came through this port,” said Elton K. Suganuma, the marine cargo specialist for the port, gesturing at a tourist restaurant. “We’re going to need an operation to save this side of the island.”

The president’s disaster declaration makes federal aid available to the state and local governments and nonprofit organizations for debris removal and other emergency purposes.

A Federal Emergency Management Agency team arrived on the island of Hawaii on Tuesday to begin surveying damage.

Sunday’s magnitude-6.7 earthquake was the strongest to hit the islands in more than two decades. No deaths or serious injuries were reported, and the damage appeared to be scattered, allowing most tourists and residents to resume life as normal.

The quake struck near Hawaii’s Big Island, a 4,000-plus-square-mile isle with a population of 167,000. Most of its land is undeveloped or agricultural.

By comparison, the magnitude-6.7 earthquake that struck the Los Angeles area in 1994 caused $25 billion in damage.

The damage estimate is key because it could become part of the state’s request for federal assistance.

The quake was the second major natural disaster to hit Hawaii this year. In April, heavy rains pounded the islands, contributing to a dam break that killed seven people. The rain also caused a major sewer line to rupture, closing Waikiki beaches.

The state estimated that the flood damage exceeded $50 million. It is spending tens of millions more to replace sewer lines.


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