State and city officials urged renters and homeowners who sustained flood damage to their homes in the mid-April deluge to report it by today to their respective county emergency management agencies.
The state is appealing the May 9 Federal Emergency Management Agency denial of millions of dollars in its Individual Assistance program for Hawaii residents because it did not meet the 173-home threshold of flooded or destroyed homes to qualify.
Only 115 damaged homes had been reported after the flooding, which occurred April 13 on Oahu and April 14 and 15 on Kauai.
The state has 30 days to appeal, but the city Department of Emergency Management said it must compile and vet the information, so it set the reporting deadline for 4:30 p.m. today. The Kauai Emergency Management Agency sent out a news release Monday and set its deadline for 4 p.m. today.
The Individual Assistance program is for damage to homes, not sheds, garages or other property.
State Rep. Mark Hashem (D, Aina Haina-Niu Valley-Kuliouou) said regardless of whether homeowners or renters are seeking or needing help from FEMA, they should report any damage to help the state meet the threshold.
If the water reached electrical outlets, it may be considered major damage, he said.
State Rep. Chris Lee (D, Waimanalo-Kailua) said many houses in Waimanalo along streams had their foundations undermined. “If even a fraction of those homes can step up to the plate and report their damages, it will help secure those funds so we can address this problem.”
Danny Tengan of Aina Haina Prepared, a volunteer neighborhood group, went door to door, leaving 200 flyers at homes urging residents to call, even if they don’t think they had major damage.
“This is about all of us,” said Emergency Management spokesman John Cummings III. “You’re going to help all of us.”
Niu Valley resident Hakim Ouansafi, executive director of the Hawaii Housing Authority, said his house was flooded with up to 2 feet of water. He said professionals found mud, sewage and water damage beneath the hardwood flooring and the plywood subfloor. If not properly cleaned and replaced, it could have led to mold.
“You’re opening yourself to a health hazard,” he warned. He said $250,000 in flood insurance doesn’t cover all the damage, not to mention replacing furniture and paying for hotel stays.
To report damage on Oahu, call 723-8957 or go to honolulu.gov/dem and click the “Click here to report Oahu home damages” link.
For Kauai, call 241-1800 or go to kauai.gov and click the “Online Damage Form” link on the home page.