President Donald Trump has approved Hawaii’s request for individual assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for Big Island residents whose homes have been lost or damaged due to the ongoing Kilauea Volcano eruptions.
FEMA’s individual assistance programs will unlock further federal relief funds for lava evacuees.
A number of Hawaii officials thanked Trump today for unlocking the federal funds:
“I want to thank FEMA and President Trump for their quick action. This is an extraordinary ongoing disaster, and the federal response has been robust and seamlessly integrated into state, county, and community efforts. This is a challenging time for Hawai‘i Island, and this is welcome news.” — U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii)
“The swift approval of the State’s application for Individual Assistance unlocks much needed resources for residents and households affected by the ongoing Kilauea eruption. We have a lot of hard work ahead as we continue to respond to and begin to recover from this disaster and I want to thank President Trump and FEMA for their quick action today.” — Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii)
“Over the past six weeks, thousands of people on Hawaiʻi Island have seen their homes, livelihoods, farms, and businesses devoured by lava. For those impacted by this crisis, day-to-day life remains uncertain, with their future unknown. Help and support for basic needs are sorely and urgently needed. This funding will help assist with things like temporary housing, home repairs and replacements, medical needs, child care, transportation, and more.” — Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02)
On May 11, Trump granted a Major Disaster Declaration for Hawaii, which released federal funds to help people recover from the Kilauea Volcanic eruption and earthquakes that began May 3.
This new approval, which comes a day after Gov. David Ige’s request, means that qualifying residents will get access to a range of federal assistance programs from shelter needs, to unemployment, to trauma and legal matters.
On Friday, a FEMA relief center will be set up at Keaau High School where county, state, and federal agencies will gather information from affected residents.
Residents whose homes were destroyed by the lava, or whose homes are inaccessible due to the lava flow, should register at the center for possible assistance.
Gov. Ige has also asked the federal government to reconsider his request for individual assistance for storm and flood victims on Kauai and Oahu.