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Big Island school shelters not built to withstand strong hurricane

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 7:57 p.m. HST, Mar 17, 2011


HILO >> Hawaii County has designated 32 public schools as hurricane evacuation centers, but none is built to handle more than a Category 1 hurricane. 

County Civil Defense Administrator Quince Mento told West Hawaii Today he's very concerned about the shelters but it would cost "a bundle of bucks" to retrofit them. He says the question is who would pay for it. 

Mento and other emergency officials say a more stringent building code is the quickest way to safeguard island residents.

The last major hurricane to reach the state was Iniki, a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 131 to 155 mph. Iniki killed six and injured more than 100 people when it hit in 1992. It damaged or destroyed 14,350 homes on Kauai.

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