Maui News

Presidential Disaster Declaration Granted for Hawai‘i

May 12, 2018, 9:03 AM HST
* Updated May 12, 9:14 AM
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At 10:10 a.m. HST on May 9, 2018. Yellow street lines show the offset of cracks on Leilani Street, Leilani Estates. PC: USGS

Gov. David Ige’s request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Hawai‘i Island was granted, one day after the governor submitted the request.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster assistance has been made available to the state of Hawaiʻi to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the Kīlauea volcanic eruption and earthquakes from May 3, 2018, and continuing.

Federal funding is available to the state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the Kīlauea volcanic eruption and earthquakes in Hawaiʻi County.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures throughout the state.

Willie G. Nunn has been named as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. Nunn said additional designations may be made at a later date if warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

The disaster declaration means that federal assistance will be available for public facilities such as roads, public parks, schools and waterpipes damaged or destroyed by the Kīlauea volcanic eruption and earthquakes. It also covers costs for emergency protection measures including personnel for security and roadblocks, geologists and the military.

The governor’s request for assistance by the Hazard Mitigation Grant program was also approved for the State of Hawai‘i. This program provides assistance to all Hawai‘i counties to prevent or reduce long-term risks to life and property caused by natural hazards.

“I’m grateful for the quick approval of my request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration. This opens the door to federal assistance and demonstrates a solid partnership with the federal government as we work to keep Hawai‘i residents safe and support recovery efforts on Hawai‘i Island,” said Gov. David Ige.

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US Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) lauded the approval saying, “We are appreciative of the good and quick work of our federal partners as we navigate this difficult and unpredictable disaster. This declaration will help our state and county governments and our community manage this ongoing disaster, and eventually it will help us with recovery.”

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Fellow US Senator Mazie Hirono also commented saying, “Federal, state, and county governments are coordinating and working together to ensure the safety of Hawaiʻi Island residents and to assist communities affected by the ongoing volcanic activity on Hawaiʻi Island. The approval of a federal disaster declaration will increase the resources for public safety and infrastructure repair.”

As the volcanic eruption enters its second week – assessments continue and additional requests will be made when federal requirements are met.

The Presidential Disaster Declaration for Hawai‘i Island follows the Presidential Disaster Declaration for flood-damaged Kaua‘i and the City and County of Honolulu, which was granted on May 8.

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