Star Bulletin
Pacific Worlds

250 Kauai Residents Lose Homes
Honolulu Advertiser March 11, 1957; p. A1:6

Governor King took steps yesterday to get federal aid for areas on the north coasts of Kauai and Oahu which were devastated by Saturday's tidal wave.

The disastrous wave inflicted an estimated $3 million damage throughout the Territory and took two lives….

Governor King announced he plans to declare Kauai's Hanalei district and Oahu's Waialua district "major disaster areas" as soon as he received official damage estimates from the Territorial Civil Defense Agency.

With that data in hand, the governor said he would send a radiogram to President Eisenhower, appealing for federal assistance.

On North Kauai alone, damage came to the neighborhood of $2 million, more than double the amount of wreckage the 1946 tidal wave caused on the Garden Island.

Some 75 homes were demolished or damaged along the 15 mile strip between Kalihiwai and Haena. An estimated 250 persons were homeless. More than 1,000 were isolated when the Kalihiwai bridge crumbled under the power of the waves.


A survey of the little towns along battered North Kauai was testimony to the power of the waves that rolled down from their Aleutian breeding ground.

Out of 29 homes that once stood at Haena, only four can now be lived in. A YMCA boys' camp, recently repaired from 1946 tidal wave damage, was washed out to sea. Power and telephone lines were down for a mile along Haena flats.


Six Kauai bridges, including the one at Kalihiwai, were washed out. Half of the Garden Island's $2 million damage was to roads, bridges and other public facilities.

The Red Cross gave shelter and food to 100 homeless persons at Hanalei School. Many of them were evacuated by helicopter from Haena, where Mrs. Juliet Wichman took 54 tidal wave refugees into her home.


Authorities said it was miraculous that there were no injuries or deaths on the neighbor islands, especially Kauai where it was almost by chance that residents of Hanalei and Haena got warning of the approaching disaster.

The Hanalei Civil Air Patrol squadron sounded the alarm throughout the Hanalei Valley and saw that every single resident took refuge to high ground.

A CAP girl cadet heard the tidal wave warning on the radio and notified her commanding officer, Lt. Kai Davis. He alerted the community by means of a siren and then sent CAP youngsters from house to house all through the valley. They alerted 300 to 400 persons who fled to Hanalei Lookout.

Then the CAP youngsters started out for Haena to spread the warning. But they saw the tidal wave approaching a low spot in the road and were forced back.

Haena apparently got its warning by telephone from persons in other parts of Kauai who had friends living in the little village.

Everyone who wanted to leave Haena was taken out by helicopter, including one unidentified honeymooning couple from Honolulu.


1946 Tsunami Articles:

   Kauai Attempting To Get Aid To Stricken (April 03, 1946)
   14 Dead Listed at Kauai (April 03, 1946)
   Haena Survivors Tell Dramatic Stories of Heroism and Faith (April 05, 1946)

1957 Tsunami Articles:
» 250 Kauai Residents Lose Homes (March 11, 1957)
   235 Oahu, Kauai Homes Damaged (March 21, 1957)



Pacific Worlds > Hawai‘i: Ha‘ena > Memories > Tsunami