Hawai‘i Disaster Relief Funding Act Passes

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Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Colleen Hanabusa voted to pass critical disaster relief and recovery funding for Hawai‘i, North Carolina, South Carolina and other areas recovering from recent Presidentially declared disasters on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018.

The 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act (H.Res 1082) would include $1.68 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant Disaster Relief program for cities, counties, and states, like Hawai‘i to assist with disaster relief, long-term recovery, restoration of infrastructure, housing, and economic revitalization funding. The legislation passed by a vote of 398-23.

Puna District lava flow, June 28, 2018. PC: Hawai‘i County Fire Department.

In April, heavy rains fell on Kaua‘i and O‘ahu, with nearly 50 inches falling in a 24-hour period, resulting in damage to more than 760 homes.

In May, volcanic eruptions began on Hawai‘i Island, covering over 6,000 acres of land, destroying more than 700 homes, and burying or isolating roughly 1,600 acres of farms in the Puna area.


Finally, in late August, Tropical Storm Lane caused further damage with flooding and wildfires on Maui and O‘ahu, eroded beaches, and other devastation across our islands, further straining resources in our state, damaging 152 homes and causing more than $35 million in damage.

“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. 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 Hawai‘i communities,” said Congresswoman Hanabusa. “These funds are critical to helping those impacted by April’s historic rains, Kīlauea’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.”



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