Only half of East Hawaii flood damage surveyed so far
  • Wednesday, November 14, 2018
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Only half of East Hawaii flood damage surveyed so far

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/HAWAII TRIBUNE-HERALD VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS

    People stood near flood waters from Hurricane Lane making the intersection of Kamehameha Avenue and Pauahi Street impassable, Aug. 23, in Hilo. Hawaii County Civil Defense officials have identified 18 homes and two business that suffered “major” flood damage as Hurricane Lane triggered a deluge of rain in East Hawaii, but reports of damage are still coming in, and assessment teams are in the field inspecting hard-hit areas, county officials said.

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Hawaii County Civil Defense officials have identified 18 homes and two business that suffered “major” flood damage as Hurricane Lane triggered a deluge of rain in East Hawaii, but reports of damage are still coming in, and assessment teams are in the field inspecting hard-hit areas, county officials said.

Another 86 homes suffered minor damage in the flooding that began Aug. 22, and another 16 businesses also suffered minor damage, according to a tally being kept at the civil defense headquarters in Hilo.

However, Mayor Harry Kim said county and the inspection teams have so far documented only about 50 percent to 60 percent of the damage to homes in East Hawaii.

“That surprised me, but the reason for it is the calls are coming in now after (inspections teams) went through once, and then they have to go back,” Kim told his staff at a briefing this morning. “So if you are on that task, I know you’re tired of going back and doing things, but it is that important.”

The National Weather Serv­ice reports Lane dropped 52 inches of rain on Mountain View in Puna from 8 a.m. Aug. 22 until Monday at 8 a.m., which is believed to be a rainfall record for a tropical cyclone for Hawaii. The previous record was set on Kauai in 1950 when 52 inches fell during Hurricane Hiki.

The Hilo neighborhood of Waiakea Uka had 49.48 inches of rain during the same period, while Piihonua in Hilo saw 48.13 inches of rainfall.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator William Brock Long is visiting Hilo today and told the staff at civil defense that the assessment process is critical for qualifying for federal assistance.

“My advice to you is, leave no stone unturned,” Long said. “Let’s try to move as quickly as we can, but not rush the process, to make sure that you’re entitled to everything that can come down from the federal government in the future. Make sure that we do that right.”

He also urged state, county and federal officials to “make sure that we can capture the lessons learned on how we can better the relationship from the local government all the way up to the federal government.”

County spokeswoman Janet Snyder said people who suffered damage from Hurricane Lane and its aftermath should call the disaster hotline at 643-5555.

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