Mayor Rick Blangiardi and Gov. David Ige urged residents to continue to follow safety guidelines as a flash flood warning remains in effect for Oahu.
The mayor and governor surveyed the damage to property in Haleiwa today after severe flooding last night. However, due to the continued rain, they were not able to get a full picture of the damage.
The city is asking residents who have property damage to submit their information at honolulu.gov/dem.
However, Honolulu Director of Emergency Management Hiro Toya explained that people will not receive financial assistance immediately for property damage.
“A damaged home doesn’t necessarily automatically result in federal or state assistance,” he said. “We have to go through an assessment process to determine the level of impact.”
There are several types of assistance that people can seek out. One is a loan through the Small Business Administration, and another is an individual assistance program through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Both types of assistance are subject to the amount of damage that has occurred which the county and state will need to assess.
Toya did not yet know how long the damage assessment would take.
“It really varies a lot,” he said. “Right now our efforts are being hampered by the additional rings that are coming in. So with that, we really ask as much as the impacted residents can report the damage to us that makes our job a lot easier.”
Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi who represents Windward and North Shore areas expressed the need to address the reasons why the flooding becomes so damaging in these areas.
“I think this brings up a lot of issues that we know is long standing in our community with regards to maintenance that we need to do at our bridges and our waterways to make sure that the flooding is minimized here in Haleiwa,” she said.
“This really brings to focus and highlight the work that needs to be done at the federal, state and city level.”
Blangiardi will be looking at the city’s $1 billion Capital Improvement Project to see how these types of flooding issues can be addressed.
“If the city could play a role in that, we absolutely want to get a hand and doing that,” he said.
The city also received $114 million in federal funding for rent and utility relief. Residents can apply at oneoahu.org. Blangiardi expects the funds will start being distributed by the end of March or early April.