The Trump administration has expanded its response to the April flooding on Kauai and Oahu to include federal disaster assistance for individuals.
The action comes after the state revised its application for assistance to cover people who previously had not been included in its count of those affected by the flooding.
Kauai and Oahu residents may now apply for grants to pay for repairs to their homes or for disaster unemployment insurance and other benefits. Homeowners whose homes were destroyed by the floods are eligible to receive up to $34,000.
Also, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Disaster Recovery National Dislocated Worker Grant program announced it will release $500,000 to the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, enabling some 200 dislocated workers to be hired to assist with cleanup efforts on both islands.
The developments were positively received by Hawaii’s congressional delegation, which acknowledged the Trump administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“I would like to thank the Trump administration and FEMA for making individual assistance and support for immediate help with the cleanup available to our flooding victims on Oahu and Kauai,” said U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono. “These federal tools will go a long way in helping our residents recover over the coming months.”
U.S. Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Colleen Hanabusa echoed the sentiment and emphasized the urgency of the situation.
“Five-hundred-thirty-two homes were damaged or destroyed, farms and local businesses were completely wiped out, roads remain closed, and residents of Wainiha and Haena still have limited access to their communities,” Gabbard said. “The road to recovery is just beginning, and this FEMA assistance is critical to supporting the short- and long-term needs of those who lost so much.”
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz also praised the grant funding.
“This funding is much needed,” Schatz said. “It will speed up recovery efforts, and also allow for hundreds of people to be paid to help rebuild and recover.”
To apply for assistance, call FEMA at 1-800-621-3361; visit disasterassistance.gov; or go to a disaster recovery center. Centers will be set up in Honolulu and on Kauai.