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Puna residents take out anger on fallen albizia trees

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PAHOA, HAWAII >> Forget Tropical Storm Iselle.

The people of Hawaii island’s storm-ravaged Puna district have since singularly focused their anger on the forests of fast-growing and foreign albizia trees that fell like giant pick-up sticks on their homes and across power lines, keeping them in the dark and without water since Iselle blew through the Big Island five days ago.

“Those albizia trees,” said Caro-line Weber, whose refrigerated food has since gone bad after albizia trees knocked out power to her three-bedroom, two-bath house in Hawaiian Shores. “My house is fine, but all the lines are down because of those trees.”

Across the vast Puna landscape, where helpful neighbors and professional crews continue to cut through tons of fallen albizia trees following Iselle, blaming the forests of invading albizia has provided an outlet for thirsty and frustrated residents to vent their anger at not having normal essentials such as electricity and running water.

Hawaii Electric Light Co. barged over trucks and equipment from Oahu and flew in repair crews from as far away as Southern Cali-for-nia. But HELCO had no immediate estimate of how many Puna residents remained without power Monday night.

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