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Kauai recovery and rescue efforts continue after devastating floods

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  • JAMM AQUINO / Relief and rescue efforts began anew this morning at Princeville Airport on Kauai.

The Kauai Emergency Management Agency said relief efforts continue today to help residents and visitors stranded in the isolated communities of Haena and Wainiha following a severe weekend storm that caused widespread flooding.

On Monday, the U.S. Army, National Guard, and Kauai County airlifted more than 220 people from the Haena and Wainiha area.

Those who need to be evacuated can go to the Wainiha landing zone just east of Ala Mihi Road until 4 p.m. today, weather permitting. Evacuees, however, are advised that it is unknown at this time when they can return home, as landslides continue to block access along Kuhio Highway between Waikoko and Wainiha.

“There was an incredible effort that took place yesterday by both first responders and the community as a whole,” said Kauai Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr. in a news release. “Our first priority was to address immediate life/safety needs of the people in the most isolated areas of Haena and Wainiha, along with life-sustaining needs. Another priority has been infrastructure restoration – highway/roadways, water, power, and we are now adding damage assessment and documentation relating to public and private property.”

Water and food supplies can be picked up at Camp Naue and at the Hanalei Colony Resort.

Throughout today, the American Red Cross will be in Koloa, Lawai and the North Shore area to conduct additional damage and needs assessments.

Four Red Cross volunteers from Oahu flew to Kauai Monday morning to help with the recovery efforts.

At about noon Monday, Red Cross officials said, a county bus transported 61 people who were stranded at the Hanalei Elementary shelter to Kilauea Gym. Originally, they were expected to go to the Church of the Pacific near Princeville, but water was cut off there. As of midnight Monday, 13 people remained at the Kilauea Gym shelter.

The shelters at Hanalei Elementary School and the Church of the Pacific are now closed. Hanalei Elementary will reopen to students on Thursday.

Kauai County’s Department of Water has issued a “do not drink” advisory for customers located along a portion of Weke Road, from Pilikoa Street to the makai end of Weke road toward Black Pot Beach in Hanalei. While crews have repaired a portion of a damaged main line to restore water to the affected area, residents are advised not to drink or cook with tap water as a precautionary measure, until further notice.

Donations of bottled water, non-perishables, hygiene items, diapers, baby food and formula are currently being accepted from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Kauai Independent Food Bank and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Kilauea Neighborhood Center. The Hanalei refuse transfer station is accepting all debris up to three feet in length, including furniture and beds longer than three feet. With the exception of the Kapaa refuse transfer station green waste site, others are fully operational.

Kauai Bus will be offering free service, with luggage on board, for people leaving the area between Kilauea and Hanalei. While Kuhio Highway near the Hanalei Bridge has reopened, officials are reporting the following road closures:

>> Weke Road near Black Pot Beach remains closed due to a sinkhole;

>> The mauka portion of Kahiliholo Road at Kalihiwai Ridge due to severe erosion;

>> Kuhio Highway, between Waikoko and Wainiha, due to multiple landslides;

>>Hanalei Plantation Road in Princeville due to a sinkhole.

The state Health Department advises all residents and visitors on Kauai to stay out of and limit exposure to flood waters. A brown water advisory for coastal waters islandwide, except for Keoniloa Bay to Poipu Beach on Kauai remains in effect until further notice.

Individuals affected by the flood on Kauai can contact the Kauai Emergency Management Agency at 241-1800 to coordinate assistance with the American Red Cross. In addition, the Red Cross Safe & Well website allows residents to register to let friends and family know they are safe.

For updates on road conditions and closures, please call 241-1725.

The following resources are also available at

>> FAQ Flood Damage Claims

>> Repairing Your Flooded Home

Correction: >> Hanalei Elementary will reopen Thursday, not Wednesday, as was reported in an earlier version.
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