FEMA reopens disaster response program to include COFA citizens

Listen to this Article
1 minute
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

US Senator Mazie Hirono. Courtesy photo. US Senator Schatz Brian. PC: Official headshot

In response to a letter from Hawaiʻi delegates, the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced it is reopening enrollment for the Individuals and Households Program (IHP) to include Compacts of Free Association (COFA) citizens impacted by the Maui wildfires.

The announcement comes one week after access to federal benefits were restored for COFA citizens residing in the US, in a 20-year measure.

“As recovery efforts on Maui continue, we are glad to see FEMA reopen IHP enrollment for COFA citizens who have been impacted by the devastating wildfires,” said the Hawaiʻi Congressional delegation in a joint statement.


Over 18,500 COFA residents lived in Hawaiʻi on average between 2013 and 2017, accounting for 1.3% of the state’s total population, as reported by the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. COFA includes citizens of the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau.

“COFA citizens are valuable members of our communities, which is why we fought to restore their eligibility for federal benefits, including FEMA support,” continued the Congressional representatives. “FEMA’s decision will unlock critical assistance for those COFA citizens impacted by the fires. We appreciate the Biden Administration’s responsiveness to our request, and the ongoing support they are providing to help Maui’s families recover and rebuild.”

US Senators Mazie K. Hirono and Brian Schatz and US Representatives Jill Tokuda and Ed Case contributed to the letter that urged the inclusion of COFA citizens in FEMA programs such as the IHP, one of the many FEMA disaster response programs that have been used to support Maui communities recovering after the devastating wildfires.


According to FEMA, IHP assistance may include financial assistance for temporary housing; a temporary housing unit; funds to support repair or replacement of homes; hazard mitigation assistance; or funds for uninsured or under-insured disaster-caused expenses.


Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Maui Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments