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State releases $12 million in emergency funds for lava response

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The fissure 8 lava flow from Kilauea has destroyed hundreds of homes in Lower Puna.

The state today released $12 million to Hawaii County to support its response to the volcanic eruption in Lower Puna.

The funding was announced this afternoon by Gov. David Ige’s office.

“This is an ongoing emergency and we’re in the early stages of damage assessment, but we do know that costs for overtime, equipment and materials are mounting. Police, fire, public works and civil defense employees have been working overtime, and some of the equipment and materials needed to keep evacuation routes open and safe have been costly. This funding will help the county continue to protect the health, safety and welfare of area residents,” said Ige in a press release.

Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim welcomed the state’s assistance.

“We have had tremendous support from the governor and his departments from the get-go,” Kim said. “This is helping us focus on the critical tasks of making life better for our people affected by the eruption.”

The funding can be used for emergency supplies and temporary shelter-related goods and services but is not intended for long-term infrastructure repairs, or repairs or rebuilding of homes.

“Today’s agreement provides initial financial support, and I am committed to providing additional assistance to the County of Hawai‘i as new needs and specific projects are identified,” said Ige.

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