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Hawai‘i County Mayor Praises FEMA

September 28, 2018, 8:58 AM HST
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Hawai‘i County Mayor Harry Kim. Photo: Chris Yoakum

Hawai‘i County Mayor Harry Kim expressed deep gratitude on Thursday morning, Sept. 27, 2018, to Bern Ruiz of the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the tremendous help FEMA provided with both the eruption and hurricane emergencies on Hawai’i Island.

Ruiz, the federal coordinating officer for FEMA Region IX, made a special visit to notify the mayor that a Presidential Disaster Declaration had just been granted to Hawai’i County, paving the way for financial assistance to county government for the repair of county government facilities damaged by Hurricane Lane.

Under the declaration for Hurricane Lane, Hawai’i County will receive public assistance to support emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities on Hawai’i Island; as will Maui and Kaua‘i.

In addition, Hawai’i County will be eligible to apply for assistance from the Hazard Mitigation Program for actions taken to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural disasters.

“I want Hawai‘i’s people to know how FEMA personnel stayed with us 24-7 throughout the entire eruption”, said the mayor. “I will never forget when FEMA personnel worked through the night to ensure the Disaster Recovery Center would be ready for residents of Puna by the next morning.”

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Mayor Kim said that he told the FEMA personnel that they could wait another day to get it ready, but they insisted that one day would make a big difference to the victims of the eruption. After working all night, the Disaster Recovery Center was opened in the morning.

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“I need the entire FEMA organization to know how grateful we are to them for coming to our aid,” Mayor Kim said.

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