As Kauai clean-up continues, Hawaii's senators pledge more federal aid

As Kauai clean-up continues, Hawaii's senators pledge more federal aid
(Image: US Sen Mazie Hirono/Twitter)

LIHUE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii's U.S. senators surveyed damage on Kauai on Monday, and pledged to work quickly to ensure that aid continues to flow to the flood-ravaged island.

"We expect a disaster declaration to be on the president's desk within then next week or two and for the public infrastructure side we're expecting an approval," said U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz. "We already have federal resources flowing to fix the roads. And then we're working with USDA to ensure the farmers have what they need."

Schatz added that the way the people of Kauai jumped into action to help their own communities during the flooding should be a model for the rest of the world.

"They actually got together so quickly and started to solve problems so quickly that by the time the government showed up a lot of these problems were already fixed," he said.

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono spent several hours in Wainiha, one of the communities cut off by the road closures.

"There's nothing like going to a place in person and whenever there's a natural disaster it's not just the physical aspects of it but it's talking to the people and how they're staying together," she said.

The visits come as Kauai residents continue to clean up after the historic floods.

In Kilauea, Malama Kauai has opened a distribution and communications center to help centralize recovery efforts. The organization has been on the ground since day one of the flooding.

Donovan Cabebe, Malama Kauai projects manager, said the center allows supplies to be stored, packed up and distributed to where they're needed.

Wish lists for different towns are posted on the walls. They are updated daily as each community works to rebuild.

"Cleaning supplies are still in big demand and anything that would relate to construction," he said. "Many of the different communities outside of the north shore now have already moved to that phase."

And as residents continue to assess the damage at their homes, medical teams are handing out protective gear at different community centers.

"We're sending people home with respirators, gloves, and it even has hazmat suits because they're cleaning their homes and they're coming down with bacterial infections," said Kim Mertz, a registered nurse with Wilcox Health.

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