Hanalei taro farmers urge public to 'stay away' as farms recover from floods

Hanalei taro farmers urge public to 'stay away' as farms recover from floods
Updated: Apr. 25, 2018 at 5:15 PM HST
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HANALEI, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kauai's North Shore is home to the largest acreage of wetland taro in the state, and after the recent catastrophic flooding, farmers say they're worried much of their crops and fields have been drowned by runoff.

"The flash flood water came in so swift, a lot of crops have been damaged for farmers here," said Lyndsey Haraguchi-Nakayama of Hanalei Taro and Juice Co. "There's huge trees in the field, as well as tractors and equipment that got flooded, and our farm house."

"Everything here has been pretty much demolished," Haraguchi-Nakayama said.

Haraguchi-Nakayama, a fifth-generation taro farmer, says as farmers work to recover from the devastation, they are urging the public to stay away from the area.

On any given day, she says there can be as many as 35 people trespassing on the property to take photos of the picturesque site.

But she says the trespassing has been much worse after the flood.

"A couple days after the flash flood, we counted close to about 213 people coming through," Haraguchi-Nakayama said. "To see that high amount of trespassers after such a disaster, we just want to encourage people to please be respectful of those trying to rebuild and salvage and save their homes."

Haraguchi-Nakayama says the property is also unsafe right now.

Ohiki Road runs right up against the Hanalei River, and the river bank is eroding in several areas.

"It's actually eroding from beneath," Haraguchi-Nakayama said. "The roads aren't safe, especially for people that don't know how to drive up this one lane road. We do have poles that are falling and there's a lot of debris."

She's also very concerned about the large branches and trees now blocking the river, and is hoping for help clearing it before the next big round of rain.

"It just heightens the flash flood water and it makes it dangerous," Haraguchi-Nakayama said. "It diverts water everywhere into other farms as well, so we just want to make sure people are aware of that."

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