GUAM SCHOOLS ESCAPE QUAKE DAMAGE

By Odessa McCarty

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (April 29, 2002 – Pacific Daily News)---Public schools will be open today, because the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that rattled the island early Saturday morning left most schools with no major damage.

The earthquake, which caused an island wide power outage, damaged buildings and broke water pipes, jolted residents out of bed at 2:06 a.m. Saturday.

Power to most areas was restored by Saturday evening, according to the Guam Power Authority.

Emergency response agencies and building engineers and inspectors are still assessing damage from the earthquake, said Leo Espia, earthquake and tsunami program manager for the Office of Civil Defense.

The epicenter of Saturday's quake was 30 miles southwest of Hagåtña and 47.5 miles deep, according to a U.S. Geological Survey report from Civil Defense.

The quake Saturday eclipsed the 7.0-magnitude temblor that shook Guam Oct. 13 and was the strongest to hit the island since the 7.5-magnitude temblor in August 1993, Espia said.

Schools

Guam's public schools reported no major quake damage, and schools will be "in full operation" today, according to a press release from the Department of Education.

Four P.C. Lujan Elementary School classrooms with minor structural damage will be closed temporarily, and their students will be moved to different classrooms, the release states.

The relocation of the four classrooms was completed yesterday by school officials and DOE maintenance workers, the release said.

Power

"Aside from some individual homes and small pockets, we're at 100 percent right now," said Eric Untalan, Guam Power Authority's assistant general manager for administration.

Untalan said transformer damage and downed wires that popped loose from homes are the main reasons some isolated areas are still without power.

He said all GPA substations have power, and GPA's Cabras 1 and 2 generators are operating.

Water

Most visible breaks and leaks reported to Guam Waterworks authority were repaired by Saturday, GWA spokesman Patrick Lujan said yesterday.

"We received a dozen calls, right off the bat, in earthquake-related damages," he said.

The water agency was unable to repair two breaks along Talofofo Bay Saturday, causing Malojloj, Inarajan and Merizo to lose water service yesterday.

Those areas are expected to have water pressure by today, Lujan said.

The Navy's final assessment of earthquake damage to its water system is expected later this week, local Navy spokeswoman Lt. Monica Richardson said yesterday.

Summary

Civil Defense issued a press release yesterday, summarizing quake-related information it had so far received.

Public agencies reporting cracks and other minor damage to buildings include the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, the Department of Public Health and Social Services, Guam National Guard and Superior Court of Guam, the release said.

The quake caused buckled ceiling and floor tiles, seismic joint separation and concrete spalling at Guam Memorial Hospital, according to Civil Defense.

Ten of the island's 19 villages reported minor damage to mayors' offices, community centers and gymnasiums. Two villages have not reported, according to the Civil Defense release.

For additional reports from the Pacific Daily News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Pacific Daily News (Guam).

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