Oahu disaster recovery centers open - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Oahu disaster recovery centers open

Moana Pactang Moana Pactang
David Burgess David Burgess
Loren Johnson Loren Johnson
Cynthia Cowell Cynthia Cowell

By Paul Drewes - bio | email

WAIALUA (KHNL) - Now that gusty winds are settling down, recovery centers have opened to help deal with a disaster from last year.

Before the end of last year, floods disrupted a number of tranquil Oahu communities.

Residents had their lives turned upside down when the rains came in December.

"Some of them got out with just the clothes on their back - no slippers, no nothing. So they were pretty shaken up when they came here," said Red Cross volunteer Moana Pactang, on December 11th.

Hundreds of homes were damaged by the downpours. Days, even weeks after the rain, residents were still coming to grips with their losses.

"The emotions go up and go down depending on what you find under the mud, if it was damaged or destroyed or what not," said Waianae resident David Burgess, on Dec. 15th.

"I'm still in shock its unreal - you never expect it to happen, in a million years and it happened in seconds," added neighbor Loren Johnson.

On Saturday, January 17th, there is another step to recovery. As disaster centers open on Oahu. Including two on the North Shore.

"We want to be present where there was the most impact from the December storms. And there was the most damage here," said Cynthia Cowell, with the Small Business Administration.

Homeowners, renters and businesses can come to these centers to get help with a low interest loan to fix the storm damage. Already over 350 people have applied for assistance but that number is expected to go up -- until the March 9th cutoff date.

The centers offer some hope for many who have already lost so much from this natural disaster. The flooding has taken a physical, emotional and financial toll on hundreds of families.

There are four disaster recovery centers on Oahu, each open six days a week. For those interested in getting disaster loans, call 1-800-621-FEMA or go to www.disasterassistance.gov

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