Maui News

Disaster Emergency Relief Period Declared for Maui County Drought

November 10, 2021, 9:04 AM HST
* Updated November 10, 12:08 PM
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PC: Wendy Osher

Acting Governor Clare Connors has signed a proclamation that provides relief to Maui County, which has suffered under drought conditions since March 2019.

State officials say rainfall, stream flow, and ground water levels in Maui County (which includes Maui, Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi) continue to be significantly below normal.

In March 2020, the secretary of the US Department of Agriculture designated Maui County as a primary natural disaster area because of drought conditions, which remain unchanged today. 

Ranches and farms in Maui County have suffered significant economic loss because of the persistent drought conditions. Large numbers of axis dear have migrated into agricultural and developed areas, seeking food and water – contributing to the loss of crops and the devastation of area farms. The deer are also foraging in urban areas and along roadways, causing several traffic accidents. In addition, about 300-500 deer are foraging along the fence line of the Kahului Airport, with a few entering active runways–creating unsafe conditions for aircraft landings and take-offs.

Gov. David Ige initially issued a proclamation declaring an emergency on Jan. 27, 2021, enabling the state to provide Maui County with relief from disaster damages, losses and suffering caused by the drought conditions. The proclamation also served to protect the health, safety and welfare of residents and visitors in Maui County. The initial proclamation expired after 60 days.

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The proclamation signed by Acting Gov. Connors declares the emergency relief period begins immediately and continues through Jan. 7, 2022, unless terminated or superseded by a separate proclamation.

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Senator Lynn DeCoite (District 7 – Hāna, East and Upcountry Maui, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe and Molokini) issued a statement thanking the Governor for granting her request.

“On Oct. 28, I sent a letter to Gov. Ige requesting an emergency proclamation to assist Maui County in dealing with the drought situation and the effect that it is having on the deer population. I am grateful to the Governor and his administration for working with me to get this second emergency proclamation issued. This proclamation helps to open pathways for swift response by all levels of government, along with private land owners to address the dire deer situation that has continued to be a public health and safety concern for the people of Maui County,” said DeCoite.

Gov. David Ige is in Glasgow, Scotland attending the COP26 Climate Change Conference. He is scheduled to return to Hawaiʻi on Nov. 13.

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