POSTED: 7:22 a.m. HST, Mar 7, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 2:07 p.m. HST, Mar 7, 2012
LIHUE >> Hawaii’s governor declared a disaster for two islands on Tuesday after three days of relentless rains caused flooding and a sewage spill on Kauai, where officials were dealing with tree-blocked roads, closed schools and dangerous surf.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s declaration includes Oahu. A brown water advisory was issued on the island after two manholes overflowed and wastewater flowed into the ocean. A brown water advisory is also in effect on Kauai.
State crews cleared debris from Kalanianaole Highway near Koko Head and reopened the road at about midnight. City crews also opened Diamond Head Road Tuesday night. Mudslides closed the road twice on Tuesday.
Kauai schoolchildren were kept home Tuesday. A middle school was functioning as an emergency shelter, where 33 people spent the night Monday. The Hawaii chapter of the Red Cross said more than 50 others spent the night at three other shelters.
State workers in Honolulu on Tuesday continued to remove floating trash from the debris trap at the entrance to the Ala Wai small boat harbor. Cleanup began Monday after the weekend rains washed large amounts of trash into the Ala Wai canal.
Abercrombie’s declaration allows for the activation of civil defense and other emergency functions, if necessary. It comes after Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. signed a disaster declaration on Monday.
“This occurrence of a severe, sudden, and extraordinary event has caused extensive damages, losses, and suffering of such character and magnitude to affect the health, welfare, and living conditions of a substantial number of persons, thereby affecting the economy of the state, which is expected to be of such nature as to warrant rehabilitative assistance from the state,” the governor said in his disaster declaration.