National Guardsmen Help with Maui Storm Cleanup

Lt. Colonel Moses Kaoiwi
Lt. Colonel Moses Kaoiwi

MAUI (KHNL) -- It was the storm that caused millions of dollars in damage across the state and Maui took the brunt of it.

Friday, some Hawaii National Guardsmen toured the Valley Isle to see where to begin the cleanup.

Maui County says the storm ruined more than 100 properties. It estimates it'll caused at least $1.2 million in damage.

Damaging storms swept the state in early December.

On Monday, National Guardsmen will help Maui County with cleaning public areas.

"We're doing disaster relief, looking at assisting the civil authorities there to remove debris caused by recent flooding and runoff from the rains which damaged highways, roadways, gulches and areas," said Lt. Colonel Moses Kaoiwi.

Four dozen Maui guardsmen started the cleanup in Kula.

But this job is so big, they need to call in help from their colleages on Oahu.

"49 moving big trees, dirt, boulders out of the way," Kaoiwi said.

17 Oahu guardsmen will take the Superferry to Maui on Monday.

The National Guard is sending over two dozen pieces of heavy equipment.

200 small equipment excavators, five ton trucks, dump trucks going over, humvees, the soldiers could spend the entire month there.

"As long as it takes to get the debris taken care of for the area to get back to normal," said Kaoiwi.

It's dirty work, but the soldiers say they're ready.

"Most of the soliders understand the NG is a home thing. You come to the unit to understand you support the home when there's a natrual disaster or incident that needs local attention," said Kaoiwi.

State Civil Defense estimates that the cleanup costs around the entire state are so far, $9.7 million.