LIHUE, Hawaii — As the whining wind and rattling rain of Hurricane Iniki faded into a nightmare memory, the stunned residents of Kauai toted up their losses Sunday, and National Guard planes and a Navy amphibious assault ship came to their rescue with ice, tents, cots, food, equipment and fresh water.
The death toll climbed by one to a total of four, including one person reported to have died of a heart attack. The list of injured grew to more than 100. Most suffered cuts and broken bones and were treated at an island hospital. In addition, relief officials estimated that Iniki left as many as 8,000 residents of Kauai without homes.
More than 10,000 houses sustained major damage, said Linda Sacia of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. She said that most hotels were severely damaged, the Kauai water system failed, sugar cane fields were flattened, the macadamia nut crop was destroyed, a third of the power poles on the island were down and there were few working phones.
"Our hearts go out to the people," President Bush said at Camp David, Md., before leaving to campaign in California. "We pledge to stand by them." The day before, he had declared most of Hawaii a disaster area, making it eligible for federal aid. He said he was told that 30% of Kauai's buildings were destroyed. Bush said that he has "no plans right now" to visit Hawaii.
Officials got an initial look at Niihau, a tiny island about 25 miles southwest of Kauai, also hit by the hurricane. It is privately owned and home to 300 people whose ancestry can be traced to the first inhabitants of Hawaii. "I don't want to say there was no damage," said Kim Whitman, a FEMA regional director, "but there was no evidence of damage."
He and other officials flew over Niihau in a helicopter. "We were flying at a fairly low range and went slowly over the island several times," Whitman said. The aircraft hovered over ranches and homes. "They looked OK. Everyone assumed it would get ugly, but density begets damage, and there isn't much density on the island.
"The consensus was that somehow Niihau had magically escaped damage."
From Honolulu, a stream of military ships and planes ferried supplies to Kauai throughout the day. The Belleau Wood, an amphibious assault ship, loaded up 50,000 ready-to-eat meals, 100 tents, 1,600 blankets and cots, 10 mobile kitchens, hundreds of portable toilets and equipment to clear debris and repair roads.
State officials had not yet requested the material, but Pentagon officials said they wanted to be ready. "The ball is in the state's court," said Lt. Col. Kerry Gershaneck, a spokesman at the Pentagon in Washington. "We're there ready to serve, but it's the state's call, and we have liaison officers right there with them."
Hawaii Air National Guard C-130 transport planes flew from Hickam Air Force Base on Oahu every 30 minutes across an 80-mile channel to Kauai with food, water, generators to restore power and microwave equipment to replace telephone systems destroyed by the storm. Some planes carried troops.
Col. Edward Correa, commanding officer of the relief effort, said he expects the troops to stay for several weeks. "At first I thought we were looking at a couple of days," he said. "But now that I've seen this, I know it's going to take longer. It's amazing more people weren't hurt."
Correa and other officials turned facilities at the Navy's Barking Sands Pacific Missile Range on Kauai into a central storehouse for supplies. They planned to anchor the Belleau Wood just offshore as a floating warehouse.
From the ship and the missile range, material and equipment will be ferried to five distribution points on Kauai. They are at National Guard armories in Lihue, Hanalei, Kapaa, Hanapepe and Kekaha.
Among the items being sent:
* Two small military-owned desalination plants capable of generating 15,000 gallons of fresh water from the ocean each day.
* A mobile telephone system with its own generators that can be set up in a few hours. "They can land and set up a phone company that can bounce signals off the satellites," said Whitman, the FEMA regional director.
* Tons of bulk food.
* 200,000 pounds of ice.
* Large equipment, including tractors, scoop loaders, dump trucks, water tanker trucks and fuel trucks.
* Thick orange and blue plastic sheeting to cover roofs.
A. Roy Kite, a FEMA coordinating officer for disaster relief, said: "From our estimations, there are 10,000 homes out of the 21,000 homes on Kauai with at least partial roof damage.
"The idea is to get as many of the houses covered as possible so people can live in them while awaiting further federal assistance."
On their return flights from Kauai to Honolulu, the pilots of the National Guard C-130s offered space to tourists who wanted to leave. Hawaiian and Aloha airlines also began to take tourists off the island.