Debris clean-up unclogs streams

Sfc. Salvador Hernandez
Sfc. Salvador Hernandez
Ron Oliveros
Ron Oliveros

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

MAKAHA (KHNL) - Members of the Hawaii National Guard removed a wall of debris that clogged up a Leeward Oahu stream.

One by one, these guardsmen fight mosquitoes and the hot, muggy weather to help out many in Makaha.

They answer the call from people who live in there who have not felt safe since last month's flood. It heavily damaged five homes.

"Because we're helping the community, we're seeing a lot of expressions from them, they're really grateful and satisfied that we're coming out and doing this," Sergeant First Class Salvador Hernandez said.

State Civil Defense officials and a KHNL/K5 crew checked out areas like Eku Stream that show debris pile-ups after last month's storm.

"Rather than letting this sit too long, we've asked for support from the national guard to help us clear this, fortunately, they got some soldiers that are not deployed and of course, some of the equipment they have is appropriate for this particular task," State Civil Defense's Ron Oliveros said.

Even though most of the problem streams are on private property, Civil Defense officials say it's their job to keep people safe rather than let the streams become a danger to the community.

"It just boils down to the property owner who specifically has this responsibility, doesn't have the ability to take care of it in a hurry," Oliveros said.

That's where the national guard cuts in, literally.

"It's just amazing that the water can actually do something like this, but if we take care of it now, hopefully, it doesn't happen again," Hernandez said.

Civil Defense officials have targeted four streams on the Waianae Coast in need of debris removal following the December 11th flood.

The four, in order of priority, and the cost to clean them, are Eku, Makaha, Mailiilii-Puuhulu and Kaupuni-Kawiwi Streams. The total cost for the clean-up is just under half-a-million dollars.