HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hundreds of families are suffering as they are being forced to move out of their homes and deal with health issues brought on by the contaminated water, but not all of those impacted qualify for assistance.
Chris Anton and her kids live at Kapilina Beach Homes, which gets its water from the Navy.
They stopped drinking the water when they heard about the fuel spill on Nov. 20. Then, on Dec. 3, Anton took a shower, and that was when things went south.
“I started having a physical reaction then and then when you walk back into my bathroom, my whole bathroom smelled of oil like fumes of like a gas station,” Anton explained.
She said she felt dizzy, her skin was red and she could feel a film of an oil like substance on her skin. A week later, her 15-year-old MK’s legs started to hurt and she could barely walk.
“It just felt kind of like I was bruised everywhere, or like a cramp, but without the contractions of a cramp, without the tensing of it,” MK said. “It just really hurt.”
Anton rushed her daughter to the emergency room. MK said they had to roll her into the hospital in a wheelchair because she could not walk.
Anton did not understand what was happening to her daughter or how she went from walking fine one day to not being able to walk at all the next.
“I just had a lot of questions for the doctor. And he diagnosed us with the petroleum poisoning,” she said.
Anton added that the doctor also told her that it was from inhaling the fumes and the only way to avoid it was to get out of the house.
Several days later, she moved her three kids and two cats into a hotel.
Additionally, she has not qualified for assistance because she is a civilian.
“I’m getting PR, legal response from Kapilina and no real assistance,” Anton explained. “They just came in (to my house) and drank the water right in front of me out of my tap. To try to show me it’s fine. While I’m telling them that we just went to the ER and look at my kid.”
She said she wants the military to let families know that they may be in danger, and she is hoping someone will offer families, like hers, help.
The lack of assistance for civilians is just one of the issues Rep. Ryan Yamane (D) said he and several other legislators discussed with the assistant secretary of the Navy in a special meeting on Saturday, Dec. 18.
“One of the things we did ask the military to consider is opening up family assistance centers, not only for military and their families but the general community,” Yamane said.
Opening these centers would provide resources and direct support to everyone impacted. Yamane said they also reiterated the need for better communication.
“We did emphasize that this is, in our minds, a crisis and that we would expect the quicker response and information to be shared transparently with everyone,” added Yamane.
Sen. Donna Mercado Kim said, “These listening sessions are fine and well, but at the end of the day we have so many of these listening sessions. When are we actually going to know who it is that is going to make these decisions? And when are these decisions going to be made?”
On Monday, Dec. 20, a hearing on the state’s emergency order to suspend operations at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel storage facility will begin.
Lawmakers are hoping that will provide more answers.
Stolen jewels, boa constrictors killing owners, check out Weird News here
“Monday will be the clear indicator sort of how much the military’s posture has changed and potentially softened or whether it has essentially remained the same,” said Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson (D).