Charlestonian in Hawaii: "People are calming down"

Charleston, SC (WCSC) - A Charleston man vacationing in Hawaii says despite initial shock, people are coping just fine with the pending tsunami warnings.

"[The Hawaiian government] has they're police out. They have activated their civil defense units," said Charlestonian Steve Dunbar from the island of Kona. "[The Hawaiian government] has stopped roads going toward the beaches and stuff like that."

Dunbar says he first became aware of the tsunami warnings Friday night. Dunbar says local Hawaiian media and authorities began issuing evacuation mandates following an 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Chile.

Geographic and sysemic activity experts on the island, says Dunbar, predicted waves as high as eight feet would strike various coastal regions of Hawaii mid-Saturday afternoon.

"[Police] started asking people to move to higher grounds right away," said Dunbar. "Other than gas stations and grocery stores, things were moving quickly. Everyone, everywhere was very calm."

Dunbar, who was in a Kona airport awaiting a flight home at the time of the interview, says he credits early notification from emergency personnel for the calm atmosphere on the island.

"For the most part, people have been very calm," said Dunbar. "There has been no, really, disorder or anything like that."

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