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Iselle: Updates for Aug. 13

Hawaii 24/7 Staff


Hawaii County Civil Defense, Wednesday, 8-13-2014

1. The Department of Public Works, Hawaii National Guard and private contractors will be continuing with debris clearance and road clearing operations. All affected subdivisions currently have access to the highways and main roadways however there may be debris and obstructions within the subdivision roadways. Once again, the community is thanked for their help and assistance with the clearing of the roads and the removal of trees and debris. Everyone is reminded that all downed power lines should be treated as energized and avoided to insure safety.

2. HELCO crews continue to work on restoring power in the affected areas.

3. The various telephone service providers are also working on restoring telephone service to affected areas.

4. Community assistance centers for the distribution of water and ice will be set up at the following locations at noon Thursday, Aug. 14.

a) Nanawale Estates Community Center (Ice Only)

b) Leilani Estates Community Center. (Ice Only)

c) Kalani Honua Retreat (Water and Ice)

d) Hawaiian Shores Community Center (Water and Ice)

e) Water and ice will be distributed at Hawaiian Paradise Park Community Center starting at 1 p.m.

f) Ice will also be distributed at J.Hara Store in Kurtistown starting at 3 p.m. tomorrow
Supplies are limited and everyone’s patience and understanding is greatly appreciated.

5. The County Department of Environmental Management is waiving tipping fees for disaster debris from Tropical Storm Iselle. Haulers must request the waiver form at the scale house to qualify. For more information, haulers should go to the Web site

6. Damage assessments are ongoing and being conducted by the County Office of Housing and Community Development and the Hawaii National Guard.

7. The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency and the County of Hawaii will set up Disaster Assistance and Recovery Centers (DARCs) on Hawaii Island to provide information and services to people whose property was damaged by Tropical Storm Iselle.

Volunteers may check in at the DARC too – find out where you are needed most.

The schedule and location for the Disaster Assistance and Recovery Centers is:

* Thursday, Aug. 14 and Friday, Aug. 15 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Pahoa Community Center

* Saturday, Aug. 16 and Sunday, Aug. 17 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Mountain View Gym

Gov. Neil Abercrombie arrived Wednesday in Puna to survey damage caused nearly a week when Tropical Storm Iselle blasted across the island.

In Nanawale Estates, the governor commented:

“What I saw was the result of all the work that’s been going on 24/7 by the National Guard, by the County workers, by the state workers, by the volunteers, people coming from Hilo and all over. You can’t make your application for further federal assistance until you’re able to do an accurate assessment and because of everything that the HELCO workers and everybody that I’ve mentioned including folks locally helping one another out, all the aloha that’s out there, we’ve been able to make, I think, a very accurate assessment so we can make the right kind of application.

“Obviously, (residents are) going to need help and assistance by way of loans and just the way the farmers are and we’ll be working that through the Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We’ll be doing this through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. I think I’m in a position now to be able to make a statement and an application with sufficient authority and at the right level so that we don’t exaggerate our situation and at the same time, recognize… some hundreds of people who are going to need assistance.”

Also Wednesday, Mayor Billy Kenoi thanked those who have responded.

“We would like to give a big mahalo to everyone — county, state, private, and volunteers — working tirelessly to get relief to our families in Puna who have been suffering since Iselle hit last Thursday,” he said. “We will continue to work together to get our community members back on their feet.”



Concerned as to the welfare of the residents of Puna after Hurricane Iselle hit the island as a tropical storm, Cam Cavasso, the Republican Candidate for U.S. Senate flew out Tuesday night on the first available flight.

“I am concerned because these residents have been without power for 4-5 days now. I am also concerned that our people and families of the island of Hawaii may not have sufficient supplies,” he said. “I want to view the status of the situation myself and help in any way I can. I am going to start by taking some water and other fluids into the area during my visit for the people clearing debris in Puna and other affected areas.

“I know the people of Puna are frustrated by the slow progress in returning power to their homes. I call on the Hawaii Governor to re-double all efforts to get this moving faster. In the meantime I encourage calm and patience,” Cavasson said.

Also traveling with Cavasso to view the status of the situation was Puna resident and Republican State Senate candidate for the Puna District, Gary Thomas.



Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has announced plans to visit Hawaii Island this Friday and sent a letter to W. Craig Fugate, Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), requesting immediate assistance to support Hawaii Island communities devastated by Hurricane Iselle.

Since last week, the congresswoman has been monitoring the situation closely and has been in regular contact with authorities at FEMA, Hawaii Civil Defense, local military officials, and Hawaii County leaders, urging their quick response to the needs of the affected Hawaii Island communities.

She will join FEMA’s assessment task force on Hawaii Island Friday, Aug. 15, as it conducts damage assessments.

“State and local agencies are working collaboratively toward mitigating the electrical outages, fresh water availability, access to roads and medical needs of our citizens. Hawaii County continues to extend its resources, but much more needs to be done,” Gabbard wrote in her letter to FEMA Administrator Fugate Wednesday. “I ask you to be rapid in your response to our natural disaster in Hawaii. We need your help to reduce suffering and restore basic necessities to citizens across this devastated area.”

Since the storm hit, Gabbard’s Hawaii Island constituent liaison has been on the ground, meeting with residents affected by the devastation, offering resources to them, and relaying regular status updates to the congresswoman.

Gabbard will visit with area residents and join federal, state, and local officials to ensure that every available resource is being utilized to expedite recovery efforts and provide the services, supplies, and tools that are needed to guarantee the safety, health, and wellbeing of the people affected by Hurricane Iselle.

Full text of the letter to FEMA Administrator Fugate:

Administrator W. Craig Fugate
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
500 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20472

August 13, 2014

Dear Administrator Fugate,

I am writing to ask for your expedited help for my constituents in Hawaii County, suffering from the damage caused by Hurricane Iselle. State and local agencies are working collaboratively toward mitigating the electrical outages, fresh water availability, access to roads and medical needs of our citizens.

Under the leadership of Mayor Billy Kenoi, Hawaii County government continues to extend its resources, but much more needs to be done. Governor Neil Abercrombie activated the Hawaii Civil Defense including the Hawaii National Guard to clear roads, distribute supplies, contribute to command and control, and augment security and safety personnel.

This Friday, August 15th, I will accompany FEMA’s assessment task force as they assess the damage on Hawaii Island. I strongly urge you to support our efforts to deliver help as quickly as possible. The isolated communities have experienced hundreds of fallen trees affecting access to power, and rendering many roads completely impassable. Additionally, many of our senior citizens and residents with medical needs are cut-off from health professionals and medicine.

I ask you to be rapid in your response to our natural disaster in Hawaii. We need your help to reduce suffering and restore basic necessities to citizens across this devastated area. Please contact me if there is any way that I can help. Thank you for your assistance.

Tulsi Gabbard
Member of Congress



Hawaii Electric Light Co. said Wednesday about 6,600 customers are without power. On Tuesday, HELCO officials said about 6,800 customers, or 8 percent of the island, were without power.

The company expects to make progress Wednesday in Leilani Estates, Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Paradise Park, portions of Upper Puna, and along the highway from Pahoa to Kalapana.

Power has been restored in Hamakua, Ainaloa, Orchidland Estates, and portions of Upper Puna, Hawaiian Beaches and Hawaiian Paradise Park.

Crews totaling approximately 200 working on restoring power, including 22 electrical line crews, 14 tree-trimming crews, and 25 construction crews digging holes for utility poles, company officials said.

Also, 40 more crew members will be arriving, including from Maui Electric and Kauai Island Utility Cooperative.

The county has contracted with 20 tree cutting and removal companies to expedite Puna cleanup.

More than 35 tons of ice and more than 40,000 bottles of water have been handed out at county distribution sites.



Additional assessment teams and inspectors will be in the Puna and Ka‘u areas of Hawaii Island starting Thursday.

Affected residents can expect these teams in their neighborhoods, in addition to the Hawaii County, Hawaii National Guard, and American Red Cross teams that have been conducting wellness checks and damage assessments since Friday, Aug. 8.

For identification purposes, a listing of assessors and inspectors in Puna and Kau follows:

· Hawaii County Public Works and National Guard teams have been conducting wellness checks and initial damage assessments since last Friday.

· Hawaii County Building Inspectors are out today checking electrical systems.

· Community Emergency Response Team members are going door-to-door to do welfare checks.

· The Hawaii County Office on Aging, the Bay Clinic and Hui Malama Ola Na Oiwi teams will be going door-to-door to do welfare checks for the elderly and disabled starting tomorrow.

· American Red Cross damage assessment teams and caseworkers continue to canvass neighborhoods to determine what resources and assistance can be provided. American Red Cross teams will wear Red Cross vests and have ID.

· A joint team consisting of Hawaii Emergency Management Agency and Federal Emergency Management Agency personnel will be conducting damage assessments starting Friday.

· Volunteer organizations — Team Rubicon, Pacific Baptists, and All Hands — will be conducting assessments to see how they can help in the recovery and rebuilding process. Starting tomorrow, volunteers who are coordinating with the county will display Hawaii Island United Way volunteer tags.

· The University of Hawaii National Disaster Preparedness Training Center is going out Thursday to conduct assessments on building engineering.

An attached fact sheet from HI-EMA gives general guidelines on the types of teams that may be in affected areas after a disaster.

· Hawaii Island residents can call (808) 935-0031 to report damage and (808) 961-8790 for any emergency water concerns.

· Maui residents can report damage at:

· The number for the HELCO help line is (808) 969-6666.



An unattended candle caused a fire early Tuesday in a Puna home, according to the Hawaii Fire Department.

Seven units responded to the 3:06 a.m. alarm on Nanawale Boulevard. The first unit arrived 10 minutes later to find the three-bedroom, single-story structure engulfed in flames.

The occupant escaped unharmed.

There was no estimate of damages.



U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa has asked a state court to delay Friday’s vote in two Puna precincts.

Hanabusa and U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz are locked in a tight race for the Senate seat Schatz currently holds. They are split by 1,635 after Saturday’s primary election; more than 6,500 voters in Puna still have to cast their ballots.

The state Office of Elections set a vote for Friday at Keonepoko Elementary School for voters in two Puna precincts that did not open for Saturday’s primary.

She is seeking a temporary restraining order from Circuit Court in Hilo to postpone that polling until Puna residents have had more time to recover from Tropical Storm Iselle.

The hearing has been set for 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 14 in courtroom 3E before Judge Greg Nakamura.

In the filing, Hanabusa claims it will be impossible to ensure that all voters will be notified of the rescheduled vote and that would deprive residents of their right to vote.

“I’ve spent the last four days traveling in Puna talking with people, listening to their stories of destruction and damage and seeing first hand the magnitude of the devastation they have suffered,” Hanabusa said in a statement. “It is completely unrealistic to think people struggling to find basic necessities or get out of their homes will have the ability to go to the polls this week.”

The complaint alleges that holding the election on Friday would be a violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments, which protect voting rights.



Farmers suffering damage from Iselle may be eligible for low-interest loans from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) Agricultural Loan Division. An agricultural loan officer will be available at the two Disaster Assistance and Recovery Center (DARC) on Hawaii Island, which will be opened jointly by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (formerly State Civil Defense) and Hawaii County.

The DARCs will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the following dates and locations:

* Thursday, Aug 14 and Friday, Aug. 15 at Pahoa Community Center, 15-2910 Puna Rd.

* Saturday, Aug. 16 and Sunday, Aug. 17 at Mountain View Gym, 18-1345 A Volcano Rd.
“The storm hit one of Hawaii’s most important regions for agriculture,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “While damage estimates are still being tabulated, our emergency loans may help farmers recover as soon as possible.”

The Hawaii Board of Agriculture has the authority to approve the parameters for the emergency loan program. Farmers needing loans of $25,000 or less may apply for micro-loans for swifter processing and faster approvals

If possible, farmers should bring photos of damage with them to the DARCs. Those who are unable to make it to the DARCs may call the Hilo office at: 933-9975.

Farmers suffering damage on other islands should contact their nearest HDOA office.

For more information on agricultural loans, call the Agricultural Loan Division at (808) 973-9460 or visit:


Hawaiian Telcom crews on the Big Island are working with HELCO as well as state and county officials to safely clear fallen trees, downed poles and cables, and other debris caused by Tropical Storm Iselle.

“Once all the roads are open, we can inspect our facilities and equipment in the areas we haven’t been able to reach, such as subdivisions within the Puna District,” said Bryan Lindsey, Hawaiian Telcom’s Big Island Manager. “While we’ve restored service to thousands of Big Island customers who were impacted by the storm, we know that others are waiting and want to assure them that we will get to them just as quickly as possible.”

HELCO has shared that in many areas, restoration involves three significant processes, each requiring different sets of work crews.

First, tree trimming crews must clear away fallen trees and other debris so crews may access the areas.

Second, excavation crews must dig new holes so replacement utility poles may be set. Depending on soil and terrain issues, this can be a time consuming process.

Finally, electrical line crews will set new poles and repair downed power lines.

After this is done, Hawaiian Telcom crews will work on repairing its cables and restoring services to affected customers. Hawaiian Telcom customers who have functioning home phone service but not High-Speed Internet should see their Internet service return when power is restored to their areas.

For your safety, do not touch or move any downed line, as it could be a power (electric) line and potentially dangerous. Fallen utility poles or cables and service issues can be reported to Hawaiian Telcom’s 24-Hour Service Center at 643-6111.

Hawaiian Telcom sincerely thanks customers for their patience and understanding during this time.



This is a civil defense message.

This is an Oceanic Phone System Disruption Update.

Oceanic Cable reports that intermittent interruptions in their fiber optic system may cause disruptions for their customers trying to call 911 for emergency assistance.

This outage is affecting Oceanic customers from Hilo to Waimea and may affect some cell phone users also.

This is not an issue with the 911 system, so emergency assistance can still be contacted via other phone lines, or by going to the nearest police or fire station.

Again, Oceanic Cable reports that intermittent interruptions in their fiber optic system may cause disruptions for their customers trying to call 911 for emergency assistance.

This outage is affecting Oceanic customers from Hilo to Waimea and may affect some cell phone users also.

This is not an issue with the 911 system, so emergency assistance can still be contacted via other phone lines, or by going to the nearest police or fire station.



Following assessments in the wake of Tropical Storm Iselle, the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has reopened the remainder of its state-managed forest lands and state parks on all islands – with a few exceptions pending removal and clearing of downed trees.

Still closed until further notice are: the Kula Forest Reserve (and Polipoli State Park) and all trails within the forest reserve on Maui. Damage assessment is taking place, and removal and clearing of downed trees from interior roads is expected to take several weeks.

Also remaining closed until further notice on the Big Island are Lava Tree State Recreation Area, MacKenzie State Park and the left side (shorter trail) of Akaka Falls loop trail, which requires repairs to railings. However, the right loop portion of the Akaka Falls State Park is open.

“We thank the public for their cooperation with area closures for safety during the storm,” said Lisa Hadway, Division of Forestry and Wildlife administrator. “Fortunately most of our reserves, natural areas, sanctuaries are in pretty good shape.”

Camping permits are once again being issued for state park and forest camping areas. Refunds will be issued to persons who paid for permits but were not able to use them due to weather-related closures.

“The department still cautions forest reserve users that some roads, trails and areas may be obstructed due to fallen trees and debris, and that delays may be expected in areas where crews continue to work to clear trees and debris from forest roads,” Hadway added. “Our Big Island staff continue to support Hawaii County efforts to assist the Puna community with downed tree removals and clearings.”



Water and ice came to Wood Valley on Tuesday in the wake of Tropical Storm Iselle, with county workers distributing the water to individuals and leaving cases of bottled water at gates of farms and homesteads.

Bags of ice provided by the county were available at sundown at Wood Valley Temple following the opening of the intersection of Wood Valley and Kapapala Ranch roads.

At the urging of the county, Hawaii Electric Light Co. sent a crew to determine that the wire in the tangle of trees and utility polls at the Wood Valley intersection had been live, on the ground, since the storm.

They turned off the power and posted a sign on pole number 123 on the Pahala side of the gulch stating “Danger, Do Not Operate this Switch.”

After the power was turned off, road crews quickly cleared tree trunks and other debris, making all of the access roads in Wood Valley passable.

Switch at the stream crossing leading to the Wood Valley and Kapapala Ranch intersection cut off power that was live in a wire from downed utility poles. The main road is now open, with downed trees and wires removed.

Cyrus Sumida, who takes care of water for the county, joined Wood Valley Water Cooperative volunteers, after hours, to assess their ongoing repairs to mend breaks and clear mud and other debris from the lines, as individuals worked on pipes on their own properties.

The Wood Valley spring water could be back in service within the next few days, water cooperative members said. Electricity could take longer, with lines and poles down along valley roads.



Hey guys. I own Liko Lehua Cafe. We have been providing free food to the community for the last week from our cafe in Kaumana. We are in Pahoa every night at the community center.

Tonight we offered a second location in Kurtistown at the park. If we get volunteers we will keep the second location again or we will truck food into Nanawale, Leilani and Hawaiian Beaches.

If you or your ohana are in need let us know.

Call 935-7272 – they are located in Hilo at 177 Kaumana just pass the 7/11 as you go up Kaumana.

If you have anything to donate, drop off at that location or at the Pahoa Community Center when they are serving. They can use paper plates and napkins, disposable flatware, food to prepare….such as pasta, chili fixings, rice, proteins, veggies, etc.


Utilizing its company vehicles, KapohoKine Adventures emptied its Kona and Hilo warehouses’ ice and water supply and delivered to the Pahoa distribution point.

KapohoKine Adventures also called out to other local businesses in Kona and Hilo for both refrigerated and non-perishable donations and acting as a collection point, has made numerous delivery runs.

One of the biggest donations Tuesday was 5,000 pounds of ice by partner Norwegian Cruise Line. They were also able to get help by Harper Car & Truck Rental for use of a refrigerated truck to get the ice to residents of Puna.

An additional donation by Norwegian Cruise Line of 50 boxed lunches allowed KapohoKine Adventures to deliver much-needed meals to residents seeking help at Pahoa Community Center.



Safeway is sending more than 16 tons of ice – 32,400 pounds to the Puna District of the Big Island to help residents who are still without electricity following Tropical Storm Iselle.

The ice will be distributed through the American Red Cross aid station at the Pahoa Community Center on Thursday. The ice is expected to be available by 2 p.m.

Safeway is shipping two containers of ice from Oahu to Hilo to help meet the demand. Earlier this week, the company also trucked a container of ice from its store in Kailua-Kona to its store in Hilo.

“Many of our neighbors in the Puna area have been hit hard by Iselle and are still in need of basic supplies,” said George Glukfeld, Safeway Hawaii district manager. “This is the time for our entire community to pull together and do what we can to help in the relief effort.”

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