11 Apr 2011

Hawaii mostly open for business after tsunami, but counting the cost

7:34 pm on 11 April 2011

Civil defence in Hawaii says most of the state is open for business following last month's tsunami, but several resorts are still recovering and one has laid off more than 200 workers.

US President Barack Obama has declared the state is eligible for federal aid to reimburse it for the estimated 8.5 million dollar cost of its emergency response and damage to public infrastructure.

Civil Defence vice-director Ed Teixeira says the federal assistance will help overcome the fiscal challenge created by the tsunami, even though some infrastructure such as the county road, Alii Drive, was quickly repaired.

He says most businesses are now open, but a few are still struggling.

"There is one major resort up the coast from Kailua-Kona, they're going through their repairs right now. A second one called Kona village, they've been operating now for about 44 years and they basically want to shut down indefinitely and they are going to basically redo their entire infrastructure. For them it was a business decision, but unfortunately they've laid off about 263 employees."

Ed Teixeira says businesses can access low interest loans although they are not covered by federal aid.