Family photos of tsunami damage, impacts wanted for Oahu archive

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If you have any historic photos of tsunami aftermath, the city needs you.

The Honolulu Department of Emergency Management (DEM), National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s International Tsunami Information Center (ITIC), and the Hawaii State Public Library System have come together as partners to identify, preserve and archive historic images of the effects of tsunami events on Oahu.

The Oahu Historical Tsunami Photo Project is looking to collect family photographs that contain images of tsunami damage or the aftereffects of tsunami impacts.

“We are aware of the many tsunami images held within the collections at the Bishop Museum, Hawaii State Archives, The Pacific Tsunami Museum in Hilo and from within NOAA itself,” said Dr. Laura Kong, director, NOAA/NWS ITIC. “These images have been known to the public for many years now. Our focus is to locate pictures in family collections that tell the rest of our tsunami story.”

“What we are looking to archive are those images that may be in grandma’s photo album, or on a wall in a living room,” said Melvin Kaku, director, Department of Emergency Management. “Those are an important, but perishable part of our tsunami history and heritage. Those are the images that we are hoping to identify and preserve with this project.”

DEM and ITIC staff members will be on hand at Oahu libraries to assist with the archive phase of the project. Residents who are willing to share images of historical interest are asked to bring those photos to a participating library, where staff can scan and catalogue the images free of charge. Family photos will be immediately returned once the scanning process is completed.

A signed release form is required to allow the use of the images on an ITIC Oahu Historical Tsunami Photo Project webpage that is currently being developed.

“The Hawaii State Public Library System is an important information resource for our community, and this effort serves to collect and make available these critical pieces of Hawaii history through the library system so they’re not lost,” said Stacey Aldrich, Hawaii State Librarian.

Each of the participating libraries will have additional tsunami public education materials available, and the collected photos and information will eventually be available through the library system.

Oahu residents can bring photographs for scanning to the following libraries:

  • Liliha Public Library: Thursday, April, 27, 2017 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • ‘Āina Haina Public Library: Friday, May 12, 2017 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Wai‘anae Public Library: Thursday, May 25, 2017 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Wahiawā Public Library: Friday, May 26, 2017 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Kahuku Public School and Library: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

In addition, residents wishing to share/upload images and view existing images, or obtain more information about the project can do so online at

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