State Civil Defense Addresses Kauai Disaster

State Civil Defense officials assess flood situation on Kauai.
State Civil Defense officials assess flood situation on Kauai.
Ed Teixeira
Ed Teixeira

(KHNL)  State civil defense officials are responding to the emergency situation on Kauai. Authorities are monitoring the water levels at other reservoirs on the island.

The state civil defense chief calls this "a growing crisis." With more rain expected, he says the people on Kauai are not out of the woods yet.

In a small room, on a small screen, civil defense workers monitor a giant mess.

"That's the breach, probably, right down here," a worker said, while looking at photos of the damage.

Homes were swept away when a dam on Kauai burst open early Tuesday morning. Authorities warn this could be just the beginning.

"We still have an upper stream threat," State Civil Defense's Ed Teixeira, said. "You've got a current breach of a dam that's still got water in it. And there's still continued rainfall in the forecast."

Of particular concern is the Waita Dam near Koloa. It's the largest reservoir in the islands.

"Water levels there are real high," Teixeira said. "I don't have a firm, in terms of the capacity and water level. But I'm hearing, you know, it's a risky situation."

National Guard personnel on Kauai have been placed on state active duty. National Guard helicopters and Coast Guard aircraft are responding, daylight and weather permitting.

The cause of the deadly breach is not yet known.

"We're trying to find out when this Kaloko Dam was last inspected," Maj. Gen. Robert Lee, State Adjutant General, said. "At this point, I don't have that information."

The raging waters also took out a portion of Kuhio Highway. According to Department of Tranportation's Rod Haraga, one lane of Kuhio Highway is expected to be re-opened Wednesday afternoon.

The failed dam is privately-owned. Some 60 agricultural dams, under private ownership, are currently being monitored.