DARC set up at Pahoa Community Center

PUNA, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Disaster Assistance and Recovery Center (DARC) is open now until 8 p.m. Friday at the Pahoa Community Center.

It's been busy all morning with a steady stream of Puna residents impacted by Iselle making their way from table to table, getting their storm damage questions answered and concerns heard.

Officials say multiple county and state agencies, case workers and non-profits are on-hand to ensure folks who need help, get the help they deserve. On Thursday, Governor Neil Abercrombie extended a state of emergency proclamation, which was originally set to expire Friday, August 15.  It will now run through October 17.

State officials say the additional time allows individuals who've been impacted by Iselle an adequate window to file the damage reports necessary to qualify for aid. County officials say those reports are critical to ensuring the Puna district gets the federal assistance it needs, which is why they're urging everyone who has been affected by the storm to head to the Disaster Assistance and Recovery Center and fill out an information packet.

While many may think a piece of paper isn't going to help them with their immediate needs -- electricity, running water, ice -- officials say the data they collect is crucial to helping the state and county evaluate whether the criteria for a federal disaster declaration has been met.

If you, or anyone you know, has been impacted by Iselle -- please encourage them to head to the Disaster Assistance Recovery Center at the Pahoa Community Center. If you cannot make it today, there will be a site open at the Mountain View Gym Saturday, August 16 and Sunday, August 17 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Copyright 2014 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.