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Colleen Hanabusa, Tulsi Gabbard discuss Hawaii flooding in House speech

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, left, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, shown here in Honolulu in January, shared details about Kauai and East Oahu flooding in separate speeches on the House floor today in Washington.

U.S. Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Colleen Hanabusa spoke of the destruction caused by severe flooding on Kauai and East Oahu on the House floor this morning, calling attention to victims while thanking first responders for their hard work.

The island of Kauai as well as the communities of Oahu — including Aina Haina, Niu Valley and Waimanalo — suffered flooding over the weekend, damaging homes, businesses and roads. Areas on Kauai received record-breaking rainfall that led to the rescue and evacuations of hundreds of residents and tourists.

Both Gabbard and Hanabusa said they have spoken with Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho to offer their support and to assure him that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is prepared to offer assistance, if needed.

“Far too many people are living and struggling in chaos as a result of record-breaking rain, flooding and landslides that have completely devastated communities, homes, and businesses, washed out roads and led hundreds of people to have to be evacuated,” said Gabbard. “Many people are struggling without water and electricity. They’re stranded, separated from their children and family members on different parts of the island, and relying on airlifts from the Hawaii Army National Guard for basic supplies.”

At the same time, Gabbard mentioned that the Kauai community has come together time and time again and proven themselves resilient in the face of disaster. She thanked Carvalho, the Hawaii National Guard, U.S. Coast Guard, Red Cross, and acknowledged community members that sprung into action, including renowned surfer Laird Hamilton, who is running water rescues, along with groups like Malama Kauai and many more.

“Thankfully, Mr. Speaker, there are no reports of injuries, and for that we are lucky and grateful,” said Hanabusa. “However, the images of mudslides, mangled roadways, and severely damaged homes are heartbreaking. It is encouraging to watch neighbors helping neighbors and strangers coming together to share food, electricity, and water … Flooding clogged major highways, filled homes with waste-filled water, and washed debris out to sea. FEMA is working with state and county officials and is prepared to initiate federal assistance the moment the governor asks for it. Mr. Speaker, we ask that all of our colleagues stand with us and to have prayers for the people of Hawaii.”

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