Hawaiian Airlines Pilots Raise Money For Victims Of Japan’s Tsunami


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Hawaiian Airlines Pilots Raise Money For Victims Of Japan’s Tsunami

By Mike Mitchell

April 17, 2011 - Hawaiian Airlines members of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l. (ALPA) have donated $14,500 to assist victims of earthquake and tsunami disasters in Japan, the latest outpouring of charity from a pilot group with special ties to Asia. 

Individual pilots donated $9,500, with ALPA’s Hawaiian Airlines Master Executive Council (MEC) donating an additional $5,000. HAL Capt. Rick Baldwin of Honolulu presented the contribution to the Hawaii State Chapter of the American Red Cross. 

“Most of us at Hawaiian Airlines have some sort of link to Japan, whether by marriage, work or just by the incredible Japanese presence amongst the people and culture here in Hawaii,” said Baldwin, who organized the fundraising effort in just two weeks.  

“We all wanted to do something to help out, not only financially but to let the people who are suffering in Japan know that Hawaiian pilots are thinking of them and want to help.” 

Pictured: Coralie Matayoshi, CEO of the Hawaii state chapter of the American Red Cross, and HAL Capt. Rick Baldwin.

The donation is the latest charitable outreach by the pilot group’s newly-organized Community Affairs Committee, created last year to perform community service and humanitarian work in the Islands and elsewhere in Asia.  In recent years the Hawaiian pilots have donated volunteer time, cash, gifts and other items to orphanages, food pantries, homeless shelters, elementary schools, cancer charities, children’s hospitals, Habitat for Humanity and the Red Cross, including a $15,000 donation in 2009 for typhoon victims in the Philippines and Indonesia. 

“As residents of the unstable ‘Ring of Fire’ in the Pacific, we know earthquakes, tsunamis and typhoons are a constant threat,” Baldwin said. “I have always been proud to be a Hawaiian Airlines pilot, but today I feel a special pride and gratitude for the way Hawaiian pilots and our MEC are always ready to step up and help, whether in response to a natural disaster or just to improve ordinary life here in Hawaii.” 

The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, literally "Eastern Japan Great Earthquake Disaster", officially named the Great East Japan Earthquake, was caused by a 9.0-magnitude undersea megathrust earthquake off the coast of Japan that occurred at 05:46 UTC on Friday, 11 March 2011.  The epicenter was approximately 45 miles east of the Oshika Peninsula of Tōhoku, with the hypocenter at an underwater depth of approximately 19.9 miles. On 1 April 2011, the Japanese government named the disaster resulting from the earthquake and tsunami the "Great Eastern Japan Earthquake."


The earthquake triggered extremely destructive tsunami waves of up 124 ft that struck Japan minutes after the quake, in some cases traveling up to 6 miles inland, with smaller waves reaching many other countries after several hours. Tsunami warnings were issued and evacuations ordered along Japan's Pacific coast and at least 20 other countries, including the entire Pacific coast of the Americas.  

The Japanese National Police Agency has confirmed 13,591 deaths, 4,916 injured and 14,497 people missing across eighteen prefectures, as well as over 125,000 buildings damaged or destroyed. The earthquake and tsunami caused extensive and severe structural damage in Japan, including heavy damage to roads and railways as well as fires in many areas, and a dam collapse.  

Around 4.4 million households in northeastern Japan were left without electricity and 1.5 million without water. Many electrical generators were taken down, and at least three nuclear reactors suffered explosions due to hydrogen gas that had built up within their outer containment buildings after cooling system failure.  

On 18 March, Yukiya Amano—the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency—described the crisis as "extremely serious." Residents within a 12 mile radius of the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant and a 6 mile radius of the Fukushima II Nuclear Power Plant were evacuated. In addition, the U.S. recommended that its citizens evacuate up to 50 mile of the plant.

Estimates of the Tōhoku earthquake's magnitude make it the most powerful known earthquake to have hit Japan, and one of the five most powerful earthquakes in the world overall since modern record-keeping began in 1900.

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