Members rally after quake strikes islands
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KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii A magnitude 6.7 earthquake which struck the Hawaiian Islands early in morning of Sunday, Oct. 15, caused minor damages to the Kona Hawaii Temple and several meetinghouses, according to early estimates.
The temblor, which hit about 7:07 a.m. local time, centered 10 miles north-northwest of Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii and was felt throughout the islands, causing power outages on Oahu. On the Big Island, power was knocked out for several hours, and roads and bridges were damaged, along with many structures. The Kona temple, located in Kailua-Kona, had some chandelier damage and other minor damage but the temple was open for patrons as of Tuesday, Oct. 17, according to Elder Eric B. Shumway, an Area Seventy and president of BYU-Hawaii.
No members or missionaries were hurt, but all the meetinghouses on the Big Island received some damage, he added.
"How wonderful it is to see members of the Church rallying together," Elder Shumway said, adding that emergency/disaster plans quickly fell into place after the quake.
"The members were just wonderful," said President Aley K. Auna Jr. of the Kona Hawaii Stake, which includes the quake's epicenter. "From the reports that I received from all of the bishops, they were out in the community helping other members of the community, not only members of the Church."
President Auna said he was most impressed with the reaction of priesthood leaders and members to the stake's emergency plans, which, ironically, included a plan for an earthquake measuring 6.5 or higher. He said all stake members were immediately "contacted and confirmed safe."
Assessments are ongoing as to structural safety of stake buildings, he explained, with, thus far, the Kohala Ward meetinghouse, in the community nearest the epicenter, having some cracks in the walls and damaged lighting fixtures. Some significant damage occurred at the Keei Ward meetinghouse with a satellite dish toppling from its base and damaging the corner of missionary quarters on the grounds. In addition, false ceilings fell in the meetinghouse.
Bishop Clark G. Allred of the Keei Ward said, "It's a wonderful thing we have priesthood brethren out there fulfilling their responsibilities."
On the mainland for a family wedding, he was not on the island when the temblor struck. He relied on the leadership of his second counselor, high priests group leaders and elders quorum presidency to take charge. He called it a "remarkable statement on their willingness to step up and take care of what needed to be taken care of."
On Oahu, there is no damage reported to the Laie Hawaii Temple and, other than power outages, no damages have been reported from BYU-Hawaii and the adjacent Polynesian Cultural Center.
Elder Shumway said Church meetings were canceled the day of the quake. Julie Dockstader Heaps