Delegation Urges FEMA to Work With State

August 27, 2018, 12:52 PM HST (Updated August 28, 2018, 1:50 PM)
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The Hawai‘i Congressional Delegation, on Monday, Aug. 27, 2018, urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to be ready to work with the state to address immediate recovery needs, assess the damage caused by Hurricane Lane, and swiftly approve any request for federal funding to help Hawai‘i recover and rebuild. In a letter to FEMA Administrator Brock Long, the delegation thanked FEMA for its efforts to date, and requested that the federal agency stand ready to approve any forthcoming requests from the state.

Flooding at Reeds Bay. PC: Crystal Richard

“We write to request your continued assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Lane,” the delegation wrote. “Federal Emergency Management Agency personnel on the ground made a huge difference for communities across the state. Now that Lane has passed, these same communities, especially the Hilo side of Hawai‘i Island, need FEMA’s help to meet their immediate needs of clearing debris and reopening roads, restoring utilities, and providing life-saving assistance. We also hope that you will continue to support the work of the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), and the county civil defense agencies with prompt action and all possible assistance from the federal government.”

The full text of the letter follows:

Dear Administrator Long:

We write to request your continued assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Lane. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) personnel on the ground made a huge difference for communities across the state. Now that Lane has passed, these same communities, especially the Hilo side of Hawai‘i Island, need FEMA’s help to meet their immediate needs of clearing debris and reopening roads, restoring utilities, and providing life-saving assistance. We also hope that you will continue to support the work of the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), and the county civil defense agencies with prompt action and all possible assistance from the federal government.

Hurricane Lane worked its way across the entire state, bringing torrential rains resulting in flooding and associated land- and mudslides. The floods it caused on Hawai‘i Island and elsewhere in the state have damaged and destroyed homes and businesses. Lane’s destructive rainfall, which totaled over 40 inches in some parts of the state, has blocked some highways and roads with debris, and washed out others. Water lines and sewer systems have been compromised. Hurricane force winds caused by Lane also exacerbated fires on Maui and O‘ahu. All told, hundreds of homes have been destroyed or damaged, and over a thousand were forced to take temporary shelter from destructive weather, and the continued threat of flood and fire. The state’s economy has also been harmed. Countless businesses have been compromised by physical damage and lost revenue, and the whole event has had significant negative impacts to Hawai‘i’s visitor industry.

We are grateful for the prompt attention that the federal government has given in responding to Hawai‘i’s two earlier disasters this year, and we hope that FEMA will continue to support our state’s needs after Hurricane Lane.

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