Governor Seeks Presidential Disaster Declaration for ʻĪao Flood DamageSeptember 22, 2016, 4:04 PM HST · Updated September 23, 3:18 PM Wendy Osher · 1 Comment
*Check back for video from today’s aerial tour and resident interviews, which will be posted shortly.
Gov. David Ige today toured Maui’s Wailuku River in ʻĪao Valley, which suffered severe damage during last week’s storm. The governor was joined by Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa, State Adjutant General, Major General Arthur Logan, Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency Administrator Vern Miyagi and other government and emergency management officials for aerial and ground tours of the disaster site.
The tours follow initial assessments of the disaster area by the National Guard and Federal Emergency Management Agency.
On Thursday, Gov. Ige took a 30-minute aerial tour of the site aboard a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter before surveying the disaster site on the ground where he met with residents directly affected by the storm.
“It truly is a sobering reminder of the power of nature and to see the impact on the stream and the change of the flows that had a devastating effect on families, the state and county. I will be sending a letter to President Obama requesting a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance,” said Gov. Ige.
The governor also met with some of the 30 Hawai‘i Air and Army National Guard members who have been activated to clear out debris and boulders which have diverted the stream flow into residential areas along the stream.
State and County officials say initial assessments put the state and county’s damage estimate at $15 million. About 20 families were directly impacted by the storm.
While the county and National Guard continue to clear out an estimated 9,000 truckloads of debris, the state and county are working to ensure the safety of the community.
“This is going to be a large project. Very expensive. It’s going to take months and months to try and secure this area, but it’s going to be worth it,” said Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa.