Mayor Michael Victorino led an inspection of Haiku flood areas with U.S. Representative Kaiali`i “Kai” Kahele to understand the magnitude of the disaster, assess the damage and speak with residents affected by the flooding.
They toured the Kaupakalua Dam and spoke with Mahi Pono water resources manager Mark Vaught. He demonstrated the multi-pump system preventing reservoir water levels from over-topping after consecutive days of rain since the March 8 flood. They also visited the site of the washed-out Peahi Bridge and observed floodwaters still rushing in the river below.
The two elected officials visited Haiku resident Mark Alexander whose property was nearly washed away in the flood. Mr. Alexander praised the outpouring of assistance from the Maui community after receiving donated money, food and help with flood cleanup from an army of volunteers. Congressman Kahele said it was typical for Neighbor Island residents to respond generously to help those affected by a crisis.
“The health and safety of all the residents of Maui County as well as the other counties, Hawai`i, Kaua`i and Honolulu is my top priority,” said Rep. Kahele. “Today I joined Mayor Victorino to assess bridges and roads that have been severely compromised by mud and debris. Those hardest hit by recent torrential rains need assistance now. This is when government - federal, state, and local governments -- must do everything possible to help our people.”
“It was important for Congressman Kahele to see the area with his own eyes,” Mayor Victorino said. “It’s hard to understand the severity of the flooding and magnitude of damage until you visit the place and talk with the farmers, homeowners and families that were affected. His assessment will be important to FEMA officials when considering relief measures for our community.”
“Earlier this month, I co-signed a letter with U.S. Senators Brian Schatz and Mazie K. Hirono and U.S. Representative Ed Case to call on President Biden to expedite emergency funding to help all Hawaii communities to recover from this natural disaster as soon as possible,” continued Kahele. “Mahalo to Mayor Victorino for his efforts to provide much-needed resources to the people of Maui County. I also want to thank the state agencies, county governments and FEMA for providing their support during this very difficult time.”
Government agencies rely on damage assessments to determine levels of relief funding. To report damage, call the Maui Emergency Management Agency at (808) 270-7285. Or submit a damage report online by visiting www.mauicounty.gov, and scrolling to “Report Storm Related Damage.”