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Rep. Gabbard Visits Puna Following Mandatory Evacuations

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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is in Hilo this week in response to eruptions from Kīlauea that have forced more than 1,800 people in Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens to evacuate. The congresswoman attended a Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense briefing this morning, where she received updates on the eruption, evacuations and sheltering efforts.

Following the briefing, the congresswoman spoke with local television and radio outlets to update residents on efforts to secure federal support and resources, including delivering a letter to FEMA Administrator William Long today urging immediate support for those affected by the eruptions, as well as the first responders and state and local authorities.

Courtesy photo

In the letter she stated in part: “I fully support the Hawai‘i County Civil Defense, as well as the police and fire departments, and other partners, who have provided immediate assistance to the residents and visitors of Hawai‘i Island, in addition to the Red Cross emergency shelters that were opened at the Kea‘au Community Center and the Pāhoa Community Center. I ask for your rapid attention and response to the Kīlauea volcano eruption and the associated short and long term housing, infrastructure, agriculture, and public health effects to Hawai‘i Island.”

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Following the briefing and interviews, the congresswoman visited the shelter at Pāhoa Community Center and Kea‘au Community Center to speak with evacuees and volunteers, spoke with residents along Pāhoa’s Main Street, and received an aerial tour of the affected area with the Hawaiʻi Fire Department to assess the damages.

Later today, the congresswoman will participate in a community meeting at Pāhoa High & Intermediate School alongside county, state and federal officials to connect residents with resources and update them with the latest information.

Rep. Gabbard will complete her monthly national guard duty with the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard in Hilo this weekend to assist with community support and response.

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