Army releases updated evacuation authorization for areas with contaminated water; not everyone chose to leave

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Army released an updated evacuation memorandum for military personnel and civilian employees impacted by the water contamination at Red Hill. It lists 23 neighborhoods, more than double that is listed on the Navy’s website.

The Navy said the evacuation is voluntary, but the decision whether to stay or go has not been an easy one for those impacted.

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The memorandum posted by the Army on Friday, Dec. 10, authorizes the evacuation of personnel, dependents and employees impacted by the water contamination.

Lydia Robertson, Navy public affairs officer, said via email: “No personnel within housing have been directed to vacate their residence; they may return at any time. They have been offered the option of other lodging outside the Navy water service area, and again, they may return to their residence at any time.”

The Army’s website listed 23 impacted neighborhoods, including Red Hill and Aliamanu Military Reservation — these were areas first identified. Also on the list are Camp Smith, Onizuka Village, Ford Island, Pearl City Peninsula and Manana Housing.

The Navy said Manana Housing is not impacted because it receives its water from the Board of Water supply.

For those who are impacted, like Frances Paulino, the choice to leave was made out of fear of the unknown.

“We don’t know what the health implications are going to cause for kids staying as opposed to going. So, we felt like the best decision was just to remove ourselves.”

Frances Paulino, Aliamanu Military Reservation resident

However, Paulino said leaving has not been easy on her kids who are three and four years old.

Several families said they chose to stay because of their children. The commute to and from school and uprooting them from their routine was too difficult. Tristan Hinkley, a resident at Catlin Park, said he tried to evacuate but his dog, Haupia, was not able to adjust to being in the hotel.

“It was too busy for her, so we came back. We tried to ride it out, like, how bad can it be? I went to take a shower yesterday and I just felt, maybe it was just dry skin, who knows, but I just felt not good afterward,” explained Hinkley.

He added that everything going on is a challenge.

“I’ve deployed, so I feel sort of bad even thinking like, ‘Oh, this is hard,’ cause it’s hard, for living at home,” Hinkley stated. “Washing dishes is a real pain in the butt, showering and cleaning myself and the dog is a real pain in the butt.”

Hinkley said he is going to try another place on the Marine Corps Base that he hopes will work better for him and his dog.

Paulino said it is a very hard choice to make for people, “It comes down to personal situations and personal needs.”

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