Ahead of rainy season, large Oahu encampment in flood zone draws concern

They say homeless encampments inside the canal are in the path of a flood zone and could put lives at risk.
Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 6:13 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With forecasters predicting a wetter-than-normal winter, Waipahu residents are raising concerns about an encampment in their community that’s near a canal.

They say the homeless are in the path of a flood zone.

Jason Coulam manages a construction project next to the canal in Waipahu, giving him a direct view of the encampment.

“You can see down here, you have tents step up. Basically, this is just a fully establish to live in right in the center of it,” said Coulam.

HNN saw people walking in and out of the canal as if it were a sidewalk.

It may have been dry on Wednesday, but Coulam knows just how quickly the situation can change.

“Within 20 minutes of a decent rain storm over here you’re seeing at least 3 to 4 inches of water,” explained Coulam.

Matt Weyer, with the Waipahu Neighborhood Board, says time is of the essence and government officials need to take action.

HNN reached out to the city for comment and confirmed that:

“The Honolulu Police Department has a policy in place that, in the event of a storm, HPD will conduct outreach to individuals in high risk areas, informing them of the coming storm ... and encouraging them to take shelter.”

The city plans to schedule a clean-up of the canal as deemed necessary.