City opens disaster recovery centers to assist flood victims

City opens disaster recovery centers to assist flood victims
Published: Apr. 23, 2018 at 11:44 PM HST|Updated: Apr. 24, 2018 at 6:19 AM HST
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OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - This week, the city is opening disaster recovery centers to help people whose homes or businesses were effected by flooding earlier this month.

Jonny Michaels was one of about a dozen people who showed up at Waimanalo District Park on Monday, more than a week after flood waters ravaged his Mekia Street home.

"Personally for me it's just been overwhelming ... you can only take so much before you break," Michaels said.

He says he went to the park in search of information for himself and his many neighbors — who are all trying to get back on their feet.

At the center, there were 14 city, state and government organizations ready to provide assistance.

"People are going to need permits to rebuild after a disaster. We could assist them by waiving the permit fee which can be sizable depending on what you're doing," said Department of Emergency Management spokesman, John Cummings.

"We have folks from the city taxation office, we'll have some information on tax relief property tax relief," Cummings said. "We have folks from the state Department of Health looking at mold remediation because you always get that after a flood."

Representatives from the Red Cross were also there to assist anyone with immediate needs.

"We're talking food, shelter and comfort, including health services and mental health," said Mike Wurtz.

Michaels spent well over an hour inside.

"It was an eye-opening experience," Michaels said. "Being a renter and not being a homeowner is a big disadvantage."

Michaels says his renter's insurance won't replace what he lost. Meanwhile, the Uber driver is still haggling with adjusters over his car insurance.

"They want to give me $4000 for a $15,000 car," said Michaels.

Without any immediate financial assistance, he fears he and his wife will have to move.

"I love Waimanalo," Michaels said. "I don't want to leave."

Those who weren't able to make it to Monday's event have three more opportunities throughout the week.

The next meeting for disaster relief is Tuesday at Koko Head District Park from noon to 8:00 p.m.

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