Sewage Spills, Flooding Plague Rained-Out Hawaii The Hawaiian Islands have been deluged by rain for more than a month, causing floods, contaminating coasts with spilled sewage and destroying homes. Alex Chadwick speaks with Robbie Dingeman, a reporter with the Honolulu Advertiser, about the damage to the state's land and economy.
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Sewage Spills, Flooding Plague Rained-Out Hawaii

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Sewage Spills, Flooding Plague Rained-Out Hawaii

Sewage Spills, Flooding Plague Rained-Out Hawaii

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ALEX CHADWICK, host:

The Governor of Hawaii this week called on President Bush to provide disaster relief to repair widespread damage caused by more than 40 days and nights of rain. Robbie Dingeman is a reporter for The Honolulu Advertiser, the city's morning newspaper. She joins us from her home.

Robbie, thanks for being with us. The tourism industry, the taro crops, other agriculture, all significantly damaged in the rains. Most seriously, perhaps, the environmental consequences of the showers have been a pressurized sewer main rupture in Waikiki.

Tell us about it.

Ms. ROBBIE DINGEMAN (Reporter, The Honolulu Advertiser): Yes, Alex, it's been a lot of rain here. We've had more than 43 days and there's been some very serious problems associated with it and one of them here on Oahu was a sewage spill of 48 million gallons right into the Ala Wai Canal in Waikiki.

CHADWICK: A man named Oliver Johnson fell into the canal or was pushed, maybe. Anyway, he wound up in there and he died because he was contaminated by what was there?

Ms. DINGEMAN: Well, the medical examiner here determined that he died of multi-system organ failure due to septic shock, and said that was brought on by an infection and that there was a contributing cause of an alcoholic liver disease.

So it's not a complete cause and effect that sewage caused this man to die, but it's a sad link that after he was in this water that was tainted, he died of a very strong infection.

CHADWICK: Well, this can't be good for the tourism industry. But beyond that, how about Hawaiians living with 40 days and 40 nights of rain, rain, rain?

Ms. DINGEMAN: It's been difficult for people to deal with from those very serious consequences that we've talked about to just the day-in and day-out. It wears you down to another day of rain. People think, Oh dear, here we are whining in Hawaii about our weather.

You know, I used to think I could live in Seattle, but I just don't think so. After the fourth week of rain, I think it was getting to us all a bit.

CHADWICK: Robbie Dingeman writes for The Honolulu Advertiser.

Robbie, thank you.

Ms. DINGEMAN: Thank you, Alex.

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