Governor declares emergency after Kauai landslide isolates nearly 70 people

Gov. David Ige had signed an emergency declaration for Tuesday’s landslide on Kauai that blocked Menehune Road in Waimea.
Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 3:13 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 7, 2022 at 10:17 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Three days after a landslide blocked Menehune Road in west Kauai, Gov. David Ige issued an emergency disaster declaration to free up state resources to help those impacted.

A surfboard is one of the few options to get past the rubble. Kauai’s mayor said the cleanup will take 3 weeks of work at “full-throttle.”

“All these people that live there go back centuries,” said rancher Daryl Kaneshiro.

His longtime friends, the Dusenberrys, are among the nearly 70 people stuck in the back of Waimea Valley.

When Kaneshiro found out the family patriarch, who taught his kids to hunt, was in poor heath, he hauled in his late-father’s old hospital bed on a horse trail.

“I owe this to them,” he said. “That family is part of the traditional family values that everybody believed in, and I try to do the same like they did.”

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami said, “It is clear from what’s above that there’s quite a bit of work that needs to be done.”

The mayor said the county has delivered supplies to stranded families and numerous groups have provided support.

“When these types of situations arise the community really leads the way,” said Kawakami.

But reopening the road is only the first step. The landslide also wrecked Waimea’s famous swinging bridge.

Michelle Loglia-Schmidt says there are about five homes and several farmers on the other side of the river and their only other way out is a low road through the water.

“Once the river is high, any little rain makes it impassable — not just big floods. None of us will be able to get in or out,” said Loglia-Schmidt. “We don’t know what were gonna do.”

In the meantime, her family is preparing to go virtual for school and work.

Kaneshiro knows many others will need meals.

“I finally made a decision that we are going to cook food,” said Kaneshiro, “I’m going to start cooking food right now and we’re bringing it in for them.”

Kaneshiro plans to deliver his homemade stew on Saturday with venison he caught on Molokai. It’s his way to thank the Dusenberrys for all they’ve done for west Kauai.

The county says it does have emergency access to those homes and utilities have been restored.

Kauai also has lots of experience shoring up hills like this after numerous landslides on the north shore.

The disaster emergency relief period is in effect through March 7.

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