Tsunami Update

Hawaii Brings Aloha for Japan
By Jeff Mull

All of the proceeds from the Aloha for Japan shirt are donated to the Red Cross // Photo: FittedHawaii.com

When Honolulu's Jun Jo watched the devastation of the Japanese tsunami live on CNN from his home on Oahu, he was struck by more than just the surreal power of Mother Nature. As the images of entire towns reduced to silt-covered fields of debris flashed across his eyes, his mind immediately turned to more than just the terror unfolding before him, but to the well being of dozens of his Japanese friends. Having been a lifelong patron to the bounty of surf and culture that Japan offered, Jun--who's a professional surfer turned founder of the brand In4mation--had been traveling to the country for decades and had in fact just returned from a recent trip when the tsunami struck. And like most of us, as the sheer devastation of what had occurred became clear, Jun wanted to find an avenue to give back to a country that had given him so much. With the help of a few other Honolulu-based retailers known as GRP Home, the "Aloha for Japan" relief tee was born.

"So many of us traveled throughout Japan on tour back in the day and have so many good friends and memories of the country. To watch the tsunami hit...it was just surreal. I don't really know how to describe it," said Jun. "After watching all of the devastation, I really wanted to find a way to give back. So a group of us local retailers thought we could raise money by printing tees and donating all of the profits to the Hawaiian Red Cross fund for tsunami victims in Japan."

The shirt, which reads "Aloha" with a Japanese rising sun representing the letter "O" have been flying off the shelves since they went on sale Monday morning at numerous locations throughout Oahu. "[We] sold out in the first five minutes that we opened," In4mation warehouse clerk James Ferreira told a Honolulu NBC station. The original run of tees were set for 600, but according to reports, they've already received thousands of orders and have plans of printing more.

"To me, this is how Hawaii gives back. Aloha. It means we have your back and we're here to help,” added Jun. “I think the amount of response we've had to the shirts really shows that Hawaii wants to give back."

The Aloha for Japan relief shirt can be found at the following locations and are available online at AlohaArmy.com:

FITTED HAWAII 1438 Kona St. #B
Honolulu, HI 96814

BUTI-GROOVE HAWAII 500 Piikoi Street
Honolulu, HI 96814

Honolulu, HI 96814

BAREFOOT LEAGUE 880 Kapahulu Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96816

3/14 UPDATE:
Relief Efforts and Ways You Can Help

By Alexander Haro

Footage of the devastation in Japan is almost unbelievable. Buildings washing away in torrents of muddy water, massive ships flung far inland, coming to rest on their sides. Whole cities obliterated, and tens of thousands missing or dead. While the current confirmed death toll is hovering at just over a thousand, estimates for the number of dead from one of the hardest hit areas, the Miyagi Prefecture, are expected to be over 10,000. And that's just one area. There have been reports that Honshu, Japan's largest island, moved roughly eight feet to the east.

The ensuing tsunami reportedly rose to over 30 feet above sea level. It swept across the island, destroying almost everything. Fear of a nuclear crisis is rampant, as four of their power plants have reported damage, with the most urgent problem at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where a massive explosion lit up the sky for hours. Over 210,000 people have been evacuated from a 12-mile exclusion zone surrounding the area, for fear of radiation. Aftershocks are still occurring, with the largest measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale--big enough to cause major damage by itself. Japan's central bank pumped $85.5 billion into the economy as their stock market values plunge, and preliminary estimates on damage are in the tens of billions. But the Japanese remain hopeful. At a press conference, Prime Minister Naota Kan told reporters that he was "convinced we can overcome the crisis."

Help is pouring in from around the globe. South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United States have all sent search and rescue teams. On top of that, France, Malaysia, Canada, Norway, Italy, and many others have offered their support. Even the war torn province of Kandahar has donated $50,000. There are ways the average citizen can help, as well.

You can text REDCROSS to 90999 if you would like to donate to the Red Cross. Each text provides $10 toward the Red Cross's humanitarian efforts. They've also started a Facebook campaign to raise $25,000. It can be found here.

If you run a website, you can help out with relief efforts by embedding a code that helps drive donations. More instructions can be found here.

Apple has started an iTunes donation page where you can donate up to $200 dollars to the Red Cross.

Save the Children is a provider of humanitarian relief. They donate non-food items and shelter, as well as emergency health care.

Global Giving distributes donations to relief organizations and emergency services.

The International Medical Corps are in contact with the Japanese and other countries affected by the tsunami. They provide relief teams and supplies.

The Salvation Army is also providing assistance, and has been in Japan since 1985, and has allocated $75,000 to the relief effort.

If you have a first-hand account of any unusual ocean happenings following the devastating earthquake in Japan, post it to our comments section.

The ocean continued to surge and drain for hours today after the initial pulse. Mark Healey, on the North Shore, lending scale to the 10-minute-long cycles. Photos: Wilson

North Shore Spared From Tsunami
By Alex Wilson

We saw it on CNN, playing on the television over the bar at Haleiwa Joe's: a creeping, burning mass of water and debris advancing over the Japanese landscape. The tsunami had been spawned by an 8.9 earthquake, the fourth largest ever recorded, the worst in Japan's history. We were blown away by the footage of the wave, which seemed to have been shot from a helicopter, until it took out a car trying to escape ahead of it. People were dying.

Cell phones started to ring around the restaurant. "We're probably in the pulse window, huh?" someone said. Then the civil defense sirens went off and confirmed the question.

I had landed on Oahu in the afternoon and been on the North Shore for maybe six hours. At around 10:30PM, I found myself stockpiling water and other supplies at Foodland. John Florence was there. So were Mark Healey and Marcus Hickman. I spent the night on the floor of Healey's parents' house above Pupukea. A lot of people slept in their cars in the street.

Currently, the damage on Oahu seems to be minimal, if existent at all. The ocean receded and exposed the reef at Diamond Head. A few floating docks were piled on top of each other in the Haleiwa harbor. The airport in Honolulu is still closed. Parts of Maui were hit with a more powerful surge, according to the news. Nothing like Japan, obviously.

I woke up at 5AM, a few hours after the tsunami was originally forecast to reach the Hawaiian chain. A nuclear power plant was burning on television, on Honshu, I think. It was quiet outside on the North Shore. I rolled over on the wood floor and felt unbelievably lucky that nothing had happened here. This morning I keep thinking about that car the surge took out on CNN, the lives lost in Japan, and the other people who are still waiting for the pulse to reach them.

Hawaii Exhales as Islands Spared from Tsunami
By Jeff Mull

After a sleepless night for many Hawaii residents, dawn broke to sighs of relief as the initial estimates from the tsunami spawned by the infamous Japanese earthquake appeared to have caused minimal damage and no injuries in the islands.

By 10 pm of last night, civil defense sirens blared off in the distance as police combed through neighborhoods near shorelines urging people to evacuate. By the time the tsunami made landfall in Hawaii at 3 am, much of the island looked like a ghost town.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser is reporting that there has been limited damage to some harbors on Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island as a result of the tsunami.

“The surges caused extensive damage to piers and boats at Keehi Small Boat Harbor near Sand Island,” the paper said. “The King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel got a foot of water in the lobby and canoes in the harbor were destroyed. Flooding was also reported in Kahului.”

On the North Shore, traffic snaked along Kamehameha Highway as residents who were evacuated waited for the all-clear sign to return home.

We’ll continue to update you from the ground here in Hawaii with developments as they become available.

Hawaii, California breathes a sigh of relief

Onlookers gathered at various Southern California beaches today hoping to see the tsunami.

Californians woke this morning to closed beaches and terrifying images of the deadly tsunami that struck Japan. But despite the wave’s ferocity across the Pacific, Hawaii and California experienced little or no effects.

Although beaches were closed all morning, a few surfers enjoyed some small clean waves at Trestles with record-low crowds. There were no reports of anyone actually surfing the Tsunami.

SURFER’s Managing Editor, Alex Wilson, who is on the North Shore of Oahu profiling Mark Healey said that he and Mark were up all night evacuating Mark’s home and heading for higher ground. Look out for an update from him later today.

In Southern California, the start of the Oakley Surf Shop Challenge was delayed until after the Tsunami warning had expired.

Massive Earthquake Hits Japan
By Alexander Haro

Last night, Japan was struck by the largest earthquake they've seen in over 300 years. The magnitude 8.9 quake caused widespread devastation, including the shutdown of a nuclear power station.  It spawned a massive tsunami, which slammed into Japan's east coast, dragging boats, cars, and debris far inland.

A tsunami warning has been issued, with Russia, the entire west coast of the United States, and parts of British Columbia on alert. Parts of California and Oregon evacuated Friday morning, while marinas, beaches, and other low-lying areas face the same in British Columbia. Some of the biggest waves are expected to hit near Crescent City, California, according to the National Weather Service. The first of the waves hit the Hawaiian Islands before dawn this morning, although there are no reports of any major damage.

Numbers on the missing and dead are sketchy at best right now, and Google has launched an application to assist in locating people. The Person Finder for 2011 Japan Earthquake app allows people to get information about their loved ones. Those with information about someone's whereabouts are able to log on and add it to the database.  Google also created a crisis center, including a map of the earthquake, bulletin boards, updates on blackouts, and links to emergency centers.

President Obama stated that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is on alert, positioning Coast Guard cutters and aircraft crews to conduct response missions as soon as the conditions are safer.