OOKALA, Hawaii – The federal government is stepping in to help Maui following recent damaging floods. President Obama declared a disaster for Hawaii on October 6. Federal disaster aid has been made available to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, landslides, and mudslides during the period of September 11 through the 14th.
The Big Island suffered some weather-related problems within that time frame, but Hawaii County is opting to handle the cleanup in house – with a little help from the inmates at Kulani prison.
On September 14, thunderstorms and heavy rains swept over East Hawaii, triggering a flash flood on the Hamakua Coast. Dramatic cell phone video recorded the incident that took place below the Big Island Dairy in Ookala.
Micah Alameda, while driving through flood, could be heard on cell phone video he posted to Facebook.
If you have a car or anything less than a car, do not cross this. That is bad! I’ve never seen it this bad.”
Hawaii County Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter described the aftermath – and the local cleanup effort – during an October 4 committee meeting.
We had the recent flood in Hamakua that destroyed several homes. People’s homes. Some people had to close off a portion of their homes. Was afraid of what was in their home. They didn’t want to touch the mud because of what may have come down from the dairy and how dangerous that was. And all the chemicals. We were concerned in our community. I live in that community, too. My place was full of that mud and some places were growing corn. GMO corn came down from the fields up above and it literally almost destroyed our community.
So, I’m so glad that I got to meet with Civil Defense. We got an assessment tool done. They went out to our community. Went house to house. Our civil defense director is out there today. Got help with the Kulani prison to come out and help clear out some of the roads and areas so that its safer for our community. The gulches that are being destroyed, our ocean being destroyed, with the amount of things that are going into the ocean. Like when Pflueger had all of that go into the ocean and millions of dollars – Im assuming – in fines. Yet our dairy that is destroying that – they didn’t get fined.
What I’m trying to say is I reached out to Civil Defense. Civil Defense is making all those connections for me, and with me, to the State Department of Heath, our EPA, and all of the necessary resources to help that community. Because October 1st started storm season. We just started the storm season. So, right now I’m giving kudos to Civil Defense for what they are doing in our community because I’m reaching out to them working out a process.”