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Governor Signs Request for Presidential Disaster Declaration

Posted March 26, 2011, 07:58 AM HST
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By Wendy Osher

Debris shown left behind on Lower Waiehu Beach following one of the tsunami surges on Friday March 11, 2011. Photo courtesy, County of Maui.

Governor Neil Abercrombie Friday signed a request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration.  If approved, the declaration would clear the way for federal assistance to pay for damage to public infrastructure caused by the March 11, 2011 tsunami.

This declaration would enable counties damaged by the Honshu Tsunami to recover some of the costs of rebuilding and repairing damaged public infrastructure.  Preliminary estimates of damage to public infrastructure such as buildings and harbors is $8.5 million.  Total damage to the state totaled more than $30 million.

The State Civil Defense is coordinating the Disaster Assistance and Recovery Center that will be open from Tuesday, March 29 to Wednesday, March 30 at the Old Kona Airport Event Pavilion on the Big Island.  Residents and Businesses that sustained damage will be able to ask questions and find resources provided by state and county agencies.  The Center will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Earlier this week, the Governor formally requested an Administrative Disaster Declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration to help Hawai’i Island homeowners, renters, businesses and nonprofits affected by the tsunami.

Residents and business owners should report any damages to Aloha United Way by dialing 2-1-1 (Monday through Friday 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.).  The agency will record damage reports and make referrals to proper agencies.  Reports can also be made directly to the State Civil Defense toll free line at 855-211-7456 (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).

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