WAILUKU >> Gov. David Ige said this afternoon that he will ask President Barack Obama for a disaster declaration that would free up federal funding to supplement state and county efforts to clean up and repair storm-damaged areas along Maui’s Iao Stream.
“This truly is a sobering reminder of the power of nature and what happens every 500 years or so,” Ige said during a news conference held in Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa’s office in Wailuku. The state and Maui County have already issued disaster declarations.
Earlier today, Ige toured the area pummeled by heavy rain and flooding the night of Sept. 13 and early morning on Sept. 14.
After an initial assessment of the disaster area, conducted by the Hawaii National Guard and FEMA over the weekend, officials estimate that the storm touched off some $15 million in damages to Iao Valley State Monument and other public lands.
Thirty members of Air and Army National Guard are on the scene for debris cleanup, which is now underway. During the news conference, Arakawa said the cleanup will involve moving an estimated 9,000 truckloads of debris out of Iao Valley.
The state monument is now closed indefinitely. Within the lower portion of the monument park, sections of two popular loop trails along the stream have washed away. Downstream, the storm’s flooding also significantly damaged the Maui County’s Kepaniwai Park as well as a number of residences.