Storm damage into millions, federal aid likely

Vic Gustafson, Plans and Operations Officer for State Civil Defense
Vic Gustafson, Plans and Operations Officer for State Civil Defense
Lanikai resident Jim Stein
Lanikai resident Jim Stein

DIAMOND HEAD (HawaiiNewsNow) – Preliminary numbers indicate Hawaii is likely to qualify for federal disaster assistance.

State Civil Defense is still compiling damage totals, but it appears public facilities and infrastructure incurred enough damage for the state and perhaps some counties to receive federal aid. Private home owners may not qualify for financial assistance.

Certain thresholds must be met before local government or private citizens qualify.

"The county of Kauai, they just need to make over $227,000 worth of damages. We think we're over a million for the county. Once again, (it's) unofficial. We're still trying to get validation from the county itself. And from the state, it (the threshold) is $1.8 million and I think we're right around $2.6 (million)," said Vic Gustafson, Plans and Operations Officer for State Civil Defense.

Gustafson told Hawaii News Now private home owners will not qualify until the state has confirmed at least 173 homes suffered major damage. As of Monday Civil Defense had reports of major damage to between 50 and 60 homes.

For damage to qualify it must have happened between March 3 and March 11.

The State Civil Defense toll free hotline number is 855-211-7456 (Ext. 654).

This is the first time the hotline has been activated since the tsunami in March, 2011.

At least two homes in Lanikai suffered what could be considered major damage when a tornado touched down in Kailua Friday.

"I saw a one way sign with a lot of concrete on the bottom of it like it got sucked off the ground. I saw someone's fence flying in the air and it looked like twice the size of somebody's garage roof," Lanikai resident David Cavasso said Monday while describing what he saw when the tornado hit.

People in Lanikai and Enchanted Lake have made temporary repairs, but it will be a while before permanent repairs are done and even longer until the memory of the tornado fades.

"It took me a while to stop shaking. Just the would of ... could of ... what if ... that sort of unnerved me for a while," said Lanikai resident Jim Stein.

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