Our friends and neighbors on Kauai are hurting and need help. Now is the time for us all to work together, and to set politics aside. The pain and suffering is real, whether your house is large or small, whether rich or poor, or whether you are born here, moved here or visiting here.
Those of us not directly hit by the traumatic flooding that slammed our island this past weekend cannot possibly imagine its devastating impact. It is no exaggeration to say that the lives of many have been changed forever.
We should pray hard and offer personal help as we are able for those individuals and families most affected.
And we must deeply thank those many volunteers, first responders, and others who are working around the clock to protect life and property and to eventually restore some sense of normalcy to what must feel like a surreal nightmare to many.
Many parts of the island were hit hard. The south and east side were not spared, but it is without question that our neighbors living from Anahola to Haena were hit the very hardest.
For those living north of the Hanalei Bridge, restoring “normalcy” will take many months. For those in the hardest hit areas, it may very well take years. And the reality for others who may have already been living on the edge financially or personally, this will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
While the public focus is on the dramatic pictures of flooding and property damage, government at the state and county level is scrambling to mobilize people and resources to ensure public safety, make emergency repairs to impassable roadways, inspect and repair the numerous bridges, and deal with a myriad of other public infrastructure challenges.
Our community must brace for the islandwide impacts that will now unfold, and respond with support and empathy.
During the emergency repair phase now underway, both public and private entities are rushing to protect property from further damage, and to repair roads and homes so residents can return to their homes and begin the arduous job of cleaning up and long term reconstruction.
It is that pivot from emergency repairs to long term reconstruction, where both further challenges, tremendous opportunity and many questions reside.
Our already stressed housing inventory has instantly just shrunk by hundreds of housing units.
The impacted families need affordable shelter now, and that need will continue.
As follows every natural disaster, the immediate need for carpenters, and other building trades professionals will have a ripple effect in the public and private sector.
The County Planning and Building Departments, already maxed out on many levels, will be put under even more pressure.
From a public policy perspective we must learn from the past experience of Hurricane Iniki, and the “post disaster” experience of others.
But that discussion can wait until another time. For now, we must keep reaching out to help with immediacy, compassion and generosity for our friends and neighbors during this heart-wrenching time of need.
Please give what you can to help rebuild and restore the lives of our Kauai North Shore Ohana.
Donations are being accepted by:
Malama Kauai – Excellent resource for current information on needs of the community. Local and on the ground: http://www.malamakauai.org/mk/kauai-flood-relief/
The Hawai’i Community FoundationThe largest, oldest and most credible manager of philanthropy in Hawaii. https://www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org/kauairelief
There are numerous other Go Fund Me efforts and other organizations also that are engaged in the huge effort relief effort.
Flood impact and volunteer efforts in picture here: http://www.thegardenisland.com/2018/04/18/photo-galleries/april-2018-flooding/