HONOLULU (KHON2) — On Monday, Oct. 16, there will be an important milestone for Oʻahu and Maui.

The defueling of Red Hill is scheduled to begin on Oʻahu; and on the Valley Isle, the reopening of West Maui schools will be taking place.

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Hawaiʻi’s Senator Mazie Hirono visits KHON2 to talk about these important events.

Sen. Hirono visited Maui on Tuesday, Oct. 10. She will be talking about what she learned on that trip.

She will also discuss emergency evacuation plans for schools about which many parents are been inquiring.

“On Tuesday, I was on island; and I spoke with the Army Corps of Engineers,” said Sen. Hirono. “They are involved in, among other things, building temporary schools to replace King Kamehameha Elementary; but I also visited with three principals of the schools that will be reopening. As you’ve mentioned, the air quality and all of that is good.”

She went on to explain further.

“The principal said that students are very resilient while at the same time acknowledging they’ve been through a lot so the need for counseling and therapy services as the kids come back to school,” added Hirono. “When I met with the principals, they were getting ready for a non-bumpy reopening; but as I say, they are really prepared and doing the best they can to welcome the kids back who have been through a lot.”

Sen. Hirono will also talk about the impending defueling process that will be taking place at Red Hill and her thoughts on how well the aquifer is being protected and what accountability there will be going forward.

“Once the Department of Defense said they were going to close Red Hill, which was a big deal, I certainly had been pushing for that and working with the Secretary of the DOD and the Deputy Sec to close Red Hill,” said Sen. Hirono. “That decision, that was a huge milestone for the people of Hawaiʻi and Oʻahu. “The defueling is a milestone safety first; and as mentioned, it is with the ok of Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Health.”

She went on to explain further.

“I will be there for the opening, and we need to make sure that all of that happens with as much transparency and safety as possible,” added Sen. Hirono “I have been assured by Commander Wade of the Joint Task Force that they are very aware of what needs to happen. At the same time, let’s make sure that we’re not just dealing with the defueling but the aftermath of defueling and the closure that’s still going to require resources. Defueling itself is going to be a billion-dollar process.”

She also said that they’re “going to make sure it is; and at this point, the Navy realizes especially that they need to have the confidence of the community restored as far as their actions. So, they are very aware of the need to do this safely and with integrity and disclosing everything that they’re doing.”

Finally, Sen. Hirono will discuss the United States sending arms to Israel as the conflict with Hamas continues to escalate. She will talk about her concerns for U.S. citizens who are still in the region.

“This war needs to end, and there are all kinds of speculation of what Hamas’s end game is,” revealed Sen. Hirono. “But first and foremost, our country’s commitment has been described as the strongest support by any president for Israel. He said our support of Israel is ironclad. We have been providing military aid for Israel something to the tune of $3 billion a year in addition to making sure Iron Dome — which is one of their major if not the major defense system against Hamas rockets being shot thousands of rockets — is armed with what it needs.”

She went on to explain further.

“We have been doing that for a long time,” added Sen. Hirono. “We will continue because we know that Israel has the right to defend itself, and we have our commitment to help them. At the same time, this war is horrifying for all concerned. It needs to end. We have a carrier group there to make sure there is a deterrence from our end to deter Hezbullah of Lebanon or Iran or any other entity from getting engaged in a way that will expand the war that is not what we want to see happening.”

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Sen. Hirono said that a “carrier group involves thousands of sailors in that part of the world as a deterrent” and that “we are doing everything we can to support Israel.”