(BIVN) – Governor David Ige announced on Thursday that the federal government has approved his request for an extension of funding that will allow the Hawai‘i National Guard to continue with COVID-19 assistance across the state. The funding is in place through March 31, 2021.
“The President’s approval of this funding extension will enable the Hawai‘i National Guard to continue to provide much needed assistance as we respond to this nationwide public health crisis and continue our effort to protect our communities, save lives and minimize human suffering,” said Gov. Ige.
The State says Hawai‘i National Guard’s citizen soldiers and airmen “are performing critical missions such as contact tracing, working on mobile swab teams, health education for at-risk populations, screening, food and medical supply distribution and much more.”
The Hawai‘i National Guard will also be needed to support COVID-19 vaccination distribution plans.
“President Trump’s approval of Gov. Ige’s extension request allows the Hawai‘i National Guard to continue the critical response missions in support of the state and counties,” said Maj. Gen. Kenneth S. Hara, adjutant general for the State of Hawai‘i.
From the State of Hawaiʻi:
It costs approximately $8.5 million per month to fund National Guard emergency assistance activities associated with preventing, mitigating, and responding to the threat to public health and safety posed by the COVID-19 virus. Under 32 U.S.C. 502(f), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the Department of Homeland Security will fund 75 percent of the cost, with the state funding 25 percent – or about $2 million per month. The funding would cover 800 soldiers and airmen, and the state has the ability to request additional funding for up to 1,300 soldiers and airmen.
“This extension means our soldiers and airmen who are performing essential missions, including contact tracing and food and medical supply distribution, can continue their work without interruption,” said U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, who joined Hawaiʻi’s congressional delegation in writing a letter to President Trump concerning the National Guard funding.