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turism&travel : Tourists evacuated in Waikiki

Saturday 27 February 2010

Honolulu police and hotel officials are evacuating the streets and beaches in Waikiki, ordering people to go to high floors in Waikiki.

Four police cars drove slowly down Kalakaua Avenue at about 10 a.m., announcing to tourists milling on the streets to evacuate immediately. "This is not a drill," police said.

On Waikiki Beach, police on all terrain vehicles road four abreast telling people to leave immediately.

Hotel officials, meanwhile, were telling visitors to go to higher floors in high-rise hotels.

At the historic Sheraton Moana, guests were evacuated to high rises across the street.

Eric Berger, general manager at Sheraton, said they were telling guests at their four properties that they must be above the third floors.

"We have our standard procedures in place and out main concern is the safety of our guests and associates," Berger said.

The Starwoods hotel chain, handling Sheraton, W. and St. Regis hotels in Hawaii, said they are prepared for the tsunami.

"A tsunami has been generated that could cause damage along coastlines of all islands in the state of Hawaii," Angela Vento, Starwood's regional director, said. "Starwood hotels throughout Oahu, Hawaii, Maui and Kauai are already prepared and taking actions to ensure the safety of our guests and associates."

Earlier in the morning, many tourists did not seem to take the warning seriously, but began to pay heed to the police and hotel officials' warnings.

By 10 a.m., the beach was eerily calm with everybody evacuated, with the only sounds the slap of the surf and an occasional siren.

Four firefighters did a walking patrol of the beach to check for stragglers after the police cordon off the area, driving four wheel dune buggies, drove down the beach, ordering everyone off. "Get off the beach. Hayaku! (Hurry) Go back to your hotels, third floor or higher!"

Ethan Chang, events and activities manager at the Outrigger Waikiki, said "Guests are calm," he said "A lot of them are just taking this in stride. Nobody is panicking."

Earlier in the morning, the biggest concern among guests was to get breakfast, since a lot of restaurants were closed, having told employees to stay home, he said.

Source: Star Bulletin
Autor: eTurboNews