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Cleanup efforts continue on Kauai after flash flooding swept the island

Updated: Mar. 14, 2021 at 2:33 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - After an already challenging year with the pandemic, Kauai business faced more heartbreak this week as heavy rains and flash flooding sent mud and water toward their storefronts.

On Saturday, businesses in Old Koloa town on Kauai’s south shore were still cleaning up the mess that was left behind from the storm.

Owners and residents said they’ve never seen flooding like this before in the area.

Sonya McGinnis, a business owner, said that the flood waters came faster and much higher than she expected.

“As soon as we saw the waters were so high, we knew our shop was flooded. It was underwater,” she said. “We are just trying to clean the mud up and straighten everything up and see what we can salvage.”

Although she said most of her electronics were ruined, McGinnis said she was thankful the water in Koloa receded as quickly as it came.

McGinnis also owns two stores in Hanalei, but because of the landslide blocking access to the North Shore, she hasn’t been able to check on them.

“We don’t think there was water damage there, but we can’t get there. We had ordered a lot of merchandise, and we were really looking forward to having visitors back. But now, I don’t know how long it’s going to be until we can reopen,” she said.

Residents also continue to suffer after some of their properties were inundated with water.

Eric Carbonel, a Koloa resident, said, “The water would probably be to our waist if the water was still flowing. It’s all water damage to the house. The foundation got washed away. We just have to clean up all this green waste and debris that came out of the river.”

Carbonel spent the day cleaning up the mess at his uncle’s house.

He and other residents said more needs to be done to ensure the stream systems are clear of debris to prevent these kinds of disasters.

Meanwhile, on the North Shore, boats continued to run food and supplies into Hanalei, which is all part of a major community effort to help the thousands of residents impacted by the landslide.

A distribution hub has been set up at the courthouse for residents to stock up on food and other supplies.

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