U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen visited Hawaii last week to hear about FEMAs response to multiple natural crises this summer.
It was probably just coincidence that her visit came as the death toll in Puerto Rico from hurricane Maria was recalculated from just a handful to nearly 3,000 people. And President Trump was being blasted again for the poor preparation and response to that disaster.
It's very clear that the federal government at all levels was extremely attentive to Hawaii's needs – beginning with the April floods, then the Kilauea eruption, and finally the approaching Hurricane.
Scores of federal emergency staff were sent here in advance of the hurricane, including medical teams prepared to set up temporary emergency facilities. There were days' worth of food and other supplies brought in and stored — and even the military promised a quick response if civilian ports and airports were crippled.
There seemed to be a greater understanding of the potential crisis of a natural disaster hitting an isolated island chain. Which was just the opposite situation with Puerto Rico last year.
Our hearts go out to the people of that island who still suffer greatly in the aftermath of Maria.
We can only hope that the lessons learned from that disaster will never be forgotten.