(BIVN) – The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to pass critical disaster relief for a number of states, including Hurricane Lane and the ongoing volcanic eruptions on Hawai‘i Island.
The $1.7 billion in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funding, part of the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act, “will help state and local governments rebuild impacted communities, especially in low- and moderate-income areas, and provide resources to help businesses recover,” according to U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. The legislation passed the House by a vote of 398-23.
Sen. Schatz believes the measure will easily pass the Senate, and he has already begun working with federal agencies and state and county officials to ensure Hawai‘i puts forward a strong application to receive the maximum amount of eligible funding.
Sen. Schatz made the announcement to media over the phone during a Wednesday conference call.
“There is a long road ahead to recovery for the state, which has been hit by historic flooding, hurricanes, and volcanoes in a matter of a few months. These block grants will help, but they are not our sole chance at additional federal funding. So I want to be clear that this is a down payment. And I will continue to fight for federal resources at every opportunity to help Hawai‘i move forward,” said Senator Schatz.
“The people of Hawai‘i have been hit especially hard by natural disasters this year — from major flooding and landslides on Kaua‘i and O‘ahu in April, the volcanic eruptions on Hawai‘i Island, and the recent flooding and wildfires on multiple islands related to Tropical Storm Lane,” Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said. “This funding is essential to communities like ours that have been challenged in so many ways, with very limited resources to help with relief, recovery, and rebuilding. Despite all of our challenges, the strength and resilience we continue to see from the people in our communities is inspiring, as neighbors help neighbors, share their aloha, and pull together to recover from devastation. This funding will be available to support ongoing efforts to repair damaged farms and homes, revitalize our communities, and assist those affected in getting back on their feet.”
“This has been a difficult year for too many Hawaii communities,” said Rep. Colleen Hanabusa. “These funds are critical to helping those impacted by April’s historic rains, Kilauea’s ongoing eruption and Tropical Storm Lane. People have lost homes and businesses and are working to rebuild and restore some semblance of normalcy to their lives. We are working with our state and county partners to ensure every federal resource is available to help with the recovery. We would like to thank our colleagues for reaching this important bipartisan compromise.”
To date, Hawai‘i Island has received more than $56 million to help recover from the Kilauea eruptions.