In storm's aftermath, Waimanalo residents tackled a dangerous situation the city couldn't handle

In storm's aftermath, Waimanalo residents tackled a dangerous situation the city couldn't handle

WAIMANALO, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - During the height of Friday's storm, the remains of a massive tree became lodged in a culvert near Mekia Street, forcing a wall of water, mud and debris onto the streets of the Waimanalo neighborhood.

Neighbors nearby say they know the city couldn't prevent the rain, but with storms in the forecast, they say officials failed to provide the help they needed.

"It was a disaster," said resident Rowena Aguiar. "Come out. Come out and tell the community what to do. Holding a press conference on Monday, that's kind of late."

Aguiar says her family called the city multiple times over the weekend, alerting them that the culvert had been blocked. But when a work crew showed up Saturday, according to Aguiar, they failed to get anything done – despite being on site close to three hours.

When no one came back on Sunday, Aguiar's husband took matters into his own hands.

"They were inexperienced workers. They couldn't get the tree out. So my husband went and got a machine smaller than City and County's one with my two sons," said Aguiar. "They struggled. But my husband was not going to stop. He wanted the community to feel at ease."

With the help of some neighbors, the Aguiar's managed to haul the tree out of the stream.

One neighbor told Hawaii News Now: "I'm grateful for the neighbor. A little upset at the city. A little mad in fact."

A city spokesman said resources were spread thin, and that it was unfortunate the crew couldn't remove the tree, but they appreciate the help from the community.

Neighbors say the city did come back out to the neighborhood on Monday, hauling off half of the tree, along with some other debris.

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