Maui News

President Obama Signs Hawaiʻi Disaster Declaration

September 12, 2014, 11:20 AM HST
* Updated September 12, 11:51 AM
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Photo by Seth Welcker.  Trees and electric lines down on the Kula Highway past the ʻUlupalakua General Store block access to transmitter sites for two Pacific Media Group stations that were knocked of the air by the storm. 8/8/14.

Trees and electric lines down on the Kula Highway past the ʻUlupalakua General Store block access to transmitter sites for island radio stations. File photo by Seth Welcker, Aug. 8, 2014.

By Maui Now Staff

President Barack Obama announced that he signed a disaster declaration for the State of Hawaiʻi today, ordering federal aid to supplement recovery efforts in the areas affected by Tropical Storm Iselle.

The newly signed presidential disaster declaration covers the period from August 7 to 9, 2014, and makes funding available to eligible government and nonprofit organizations on a cost sharing basis for facility repair and replacement in Maui and Hawaiʻi Counties.

According to the announcement, federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for all counties in the state.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard called the announcement “good news,” saying, “Last month, I visited Puna to get a firsthand look at the hurricane’s destruction and heard from hundreds of residents seeking assistance. I inspected homes with FEMA and it was clear that the extent of the damage necessitated federal assistance.”

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“I extend my sincere gratitude to the county, state, and federal stakeholders who have worked to ensure that the people of Puna would not be forgotten, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together.  Our residents deserve this much-needed help,” said Gabbard in a press release statement.

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Governor Neil Abercrombie noted that a separate Disaster Declaration for “Individual Assistance” was rejected by the Federal Emergency Management Agency last month, and that the state and Hawaiʻi County will continue to gather sufficient additional information to justify a successful appeal.

According to the president’s announcement, “FEMA said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.”

“We are working together to support the County of Hawaii’s needs to prepare for another possible disaster as a lava flow threatens to impact and isolate several communities in the Puna District,” said Abercrombie in a press release statement today.

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