Maui Discussion

Gov. Ige Declares Maui County a Disaster Area Due to Drought Since March 2019

January 27, 2021, 4:35 PM HST
* Updated January 31, 2:58 PM
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Maui aerial image. PC: file image by Wendy Osher

Gov. David Ige issued an emergency proclamation today declaring the County of Maui, which has suffered under drought conditions since March 2019, a disaster area.

The proclamation enables the state to provide relief from disaster damages, losses, suffering caused by the disaster, and to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people.

Due to persistent drought conditions, ranches and farms operating in Maui County have suffered significant economic loss. In addition, large numbers of axis dear have migrated into agricultural and developed areas seeking food and water, devastating farms and contributing to crop loss. Hundreds of deer have died, and decomposing carcasses threaten to contaminate streams and the ocean.

“The drought has hit Maui County hard, and I am declaring it a disaster area so we can take immediate measures to reduce and control the axis deer populations and to remove and dispose of the carcasses quickly,” said Gov. David Ige.

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino said: “Maui County’s farmers and ranchers are very grateful to Governor Ige for signing the emergency drought proclamation. Since this drought started nearly two years ago, our agricultural sector has sustained substantial pasture and crop damage from Axis deer in search of food. Molokaʻi has especially been impacted by starvation and death in its deer population. This proclamation helps us to overcome regulatory barriers and it can unlock state and federal funding to mitigate some of their financial losses. We appreciate the governor’s help in solving these problems.”

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“Given the severity of this issue, Rep. DeCoite and I have been working hard to get the deer situation on Molokaʻi and in other areas of Maui County under control. I appreciate the swift actions of both Governor Ige and Mayor Victorino in helping to find solutions,” said Sen. J. Kalani English (SD-7, Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, Kaho‘olawe).

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“I am very grateful to Governor Ige for working with us to address this dire deer crisis on Molokai.  This proclamation will give all state and county departments and agencies the resources and flexibility they need to get this unhealthy and unsafe situation under control,” said Representative Lynn DeCoite (D-13, Ha‘ikū, Hāna, Kaupō, Kīpahulu, Nāhiku, Pā‘ia, Kaho‘olawe, Lāna‘i, Moloka‘i, Molokini). “I would like to thank John Medeiros the DoFAW Maui Wildlife Manager for his swift movement and tireless efforts in helping coordinate the response to get this situation addressed.”

The emergency proclamation will be in effect through March 28, 2021.

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