(BIVN) – Linda McMahon, the head of the United States Small Business Administration, talked about the eruption of Kīlauea Volcano during her keynote address at the 2018 Winter Meeting of the Western Governors’ Association on Thursday.
Administrator McMahon said:
“The entrepreneurial spirit of this country is alive and well and every business, every industry, every state has its own unique needs. Hawaiʻi, for example, has faced a challenge this year that most other states can’t even comprehend.
A volcano erupted, spewing toxic ash and molten lava into the areas surrounding Kilauea for more than three months. Property losses were so severe, it’s considered the most destructive eruption in Hawaiʻi’s recorded history. Lava flows destroyed homes and neighborhoods, upended daily life, and threatened the area’s tourism-driven economy.
When a disaster like this is declared, many people aren’t aware that the SBA helps manage the area’s economic recovery. The SBA Office of Disaster Assistance works closely with FEMA and other federal agencies as well as with our partners at the state and local levels to make that recovery happen as expeditiously as possible. The SBA provides low-interest loans to businesses of all sizes as well as to nonprofits, to renters and homeowners, so they can get back on their feet.
Here in Hawaiʻi, the SBA has so far approved almost $40 million dollars in loans for the Kīlauea survivors. And it’s really important for us to get on the ground. This is a time when SBA actually makes the loans instead of guaranteeing loans of other lenders. We are on the ground, we set up disaster relief offices, we go see the businesses or the homes that have been devastated, so we can process and get cash into the hands of our businesses and homeowners. If we get them back in their homes and get their businesses back up and running our economy starts to grow and flourish again.”
Back in May 2018, shortly after Kīlauea’s lower East Rift Zone eruption began, Hawaiʻi Senator Mazie Hirono spoke with Administrator McMahon about the disaster, during a Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship hearing in Washington. McMahon said at the time that she was committed to visiting Hawaiʻi.
Big Island Video News will have the full video of Administrator McMahon’s speech shortly.