East Oahu storm victims blame government for not clearing streams

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Disaster Recovery Center at Koko Head District Park was created by the state and city to provide services and information for flood victims, but it also became a magnet for complaints.

"I need a dredge for the back of my house because the stream must be maintained better than it is now," Aina Haina resident, Alice Tucker. "I don't care. I don't want to hear excuses. There has to be better maintenance of it."

She lives on Papai Street in Aina Haina and says the city should have done more to clear Wailupe Stream.

"People are upset and angry, and we are here to say we are here to listen and help you where we can," said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

He says the city has cleared most of the debris from the hardest hit areas near bridges.

"Both the city and state has responsibility to clear streams where our city roads go. We don't clear streams from the edge of a cliff mauka all the way down to the sea. We clear streams where our roads are." he said.

Aina Haina resident Don Bartley had a different complaint.

"The negligence of the city and county to maintain the easement, this caused the damage on my property," Bartley said.

The mayor says complicated land ownership, densely built communities and even climate change makes it nearly impossible to prevent all flooding from sudden and extreme rain events.

"We understand their frustration and we are looking for ways where we can do it better, but part of it is — this is Mother Nature and it's difficult to be so prepared to address every single situation," he said.

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