Reps Join Homeland Security in Statewide Disaster Assessment
On Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, Hawai‘i representatives joined officials from the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency, and Hawai‘i’s counties for an update on federal assistance in response to major flooding on Kaua‘i and O‘ahu in April, the ongoing volcanic eruption in Puna on Hawai‘i Island, and damage from flooding and wildfires on multiple islands related to Hurricane Lane.
Rep. Gabbard, Sen. Brian Schatz and Gov. David Ige met with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long, and other federal, state, and local officials at the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency’s Emergency Operations Center in Diamond Head Crater.
“Our communities across the state are still feeling the impacts of storms in April, the volcanic eruption that started in May, and most recently the rain and high winds brought by Lane,” Rep. Gabbard said. “Our state and county governments, along with residents and businesses, are counting on FEMA support to help offset the costs of disaster response and recovery. Even with all the hard work and progress that’s been made already, there is still a long road ahead for the people of Hawaiʻi. We must ensure that our partnerships between the local, state and federal governments continue to provide services and assistance for those in need.”
FEMA staff has been on the ground for months, providing invaluable support for local and state emergency management staff.
Rep. Gabbard also hosted a bipartisan congressional delegation earlier this month for Members of Congress to see firsthand how devastating these disasters have been, how our communities have stepped up to care for one another, and the importance of federal assistance to the recovery.
Although the official damage assessment process is ongoing, communities affected by this year’s disasters have already begun receiving direct federal assistance. Over $30 million in Small Business Administration loans have been approved for residents and businesses affected by this year’s severe storms and volcanic eruption, and over $9 million in FEMA Individual Assistance has been distributed to over 3,000 individuals.