Lava evacuees receive over $10M in disaster assistance loans

BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Businesses and residents affected by lava on the Big Island have received over $10 million in disaster assistance loans from the Small Business Association, officials announced on Thursday.

Since eruptions began in May, lava flows have caused irreparable damage to communities claiming homes, schools, farms and businesses.

Several residents and families in the lower Puna area have applied for aid to help them rebuild amidst so much loss.

Of the approximate $10.2 million in loans from SBA, $989,500 of it was approved for businesses, and a majority of the funds — about $9,211,900 — was approved for residents displaced by lava.

"SBA's disaster assistance employees are committed to helping businesses and residents rebuild as quickly as possible," said Tanya Garfield, director of the U.S. Small Business Administration's Disaster Field Operations Center-West.

In the wake of the Kilauea eruptions, at least 700 homes have been destroyed, causing millions of dollars in damage and leaving thousands of residents to figure out housing.

Some are packed into shelters, others have had to rely on the benevolence of others to find housing.

In addition to disaster assistance loans, several Big Island residents have had the opportunity to apply for individual assistance from the federal government after President Donald Trump approved a maximum of $34,000 in FEMA grants per household.

The state has also sent millions of dollars in aid to Big Island residents, including $12 million in disaster response funds last month.

Businesses and residents financially impacted by ongoing volcanic activity are encouraged to register with FEMA by the August 13 deadline.

"Don't miss out on any assistance you may be entitled to by not registering for help. You don't need to wait for your insurance to settle or obtain a contractor's estimate," Garfield said.

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