State appeals FEMA's denial of individual assistance to Kauai, Oahu flood victims

State appeals FEMA's denial of individual assistance to Kauai, Oahu flood victims
Gov. Ige submitted a new request to FEMA concerning aid for residents affected by historic flooding.(Image: Hawaii News Now)
Gov. Ige submitted a new request to FEMA concerning aid for residents affected by historic flooding.(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Gov. David Ige signed a new request on Wednesday, asking FEMA officials to reconsider providing individual assistance to those affected by severe flooding on east Oahu and Kauai in April.

FEMA officials denied the first request in early May because the number of homes reported damaged in the flooding were about 60 below the minimum threshold for individual assistance. The unofficial minimum requirement for individual assistance is 175 homes.

In its request for reconsideration, the state is asking for $925,248 for the program — the amount needed to provide 237 claimants with $488 week for about two months.

The new request is based on data collected since the initial May 2 rejection, after identifying additional disaster-related damages. Shortly after FEMA's denial, the state sent out a call to residents affected by flooding to make sure their homes were listed in the reports — several weren't.

The updated information found that at least 760 homes were affected by torrential storms and flooding on Kauai and Oahu, including 187 that were "destroyed" or "suffered major damage".

Of the 187 homes, 109 were owner-occupied.

The request also includes a significant new number of uninsured losses, updated trauma information, and economic impact documents. The request says that while 95 percent of affected families in Honolulu reported having homeowner's insurance, only 41 percent have flood insurance.

Kauai's insurance rate was also updated to say that only 32 percent of families have flood insurance.

Kauai was hit hardest by the debilitating floods.

According to the request, more than 33 percent of Wainiha's housing stock either suffered major damage or was completely destroyed. And in Hanalei, over 63 percent of occupied single-family homes were damaged by severe flooding.

"The individual component of our request for assistance is very, very important and we were extremely disappointed when our request was initially denied," said Gov. Ige, in a statement. "We have been working with FEMA to appeal that decision, and we believe the request for reconsideration that I signed today is much stronger."

The revised request for individual assistance can be found below:

Copyright 2018 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.