Five days after a major storm battered East Oahu, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed an emergency proclamation to streamline and aid in recovery efforts.
Mayor Caldwell, Gov. Ige, lawmakers and city officials gathered on Papai Street in Aina Haina Wednesday.
Officials say 163 homes were damaged or destroyed, along with an estimated $7.3 million in damage to public infrastructure.
“We will continue to work with Mayor Caldwell to restore normalcy to the community as quickly as we can,” Ige said. “We will continue to make the states resources available as we continue to help the county move forward.”
On Wednesday, the city promised action, including additional bulky item pickup, more dumpsters and additional services for the community. Bulky item collection will take place Friday and through next week, and officials are working to provide additional crews for regular pickup.
- For residents in the areas of Waialae- Kahala through Aina Haina, make sure your bulky items are placed at the curb by 6 a.m. Monday morning, April 23, to ensure collection.
- For residents in the areas of Niu Valley though Hawaii Kai, make sure your bulky items are placed at the curb by 6 a.m. Wednesday morning, April 25, to ensure collection.
If your bulky items have not been collected by Saturday, April 28, call the Department of Environmental Services, Refuse Division, at 768-3200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The city also placed additional dumpsters in East Honolulu for residents to drop off storm-damaged items. The dumpsters are currently located at the Hawaii Kai Park and Ride Facility and Kawaikui Beach Park, located at the bottom of Hawaii Loa Ridge, and will remain through the weekend.
“As much as you can, put things in your green cart, and put things in your gray cart if you have extra room. We may consider putting another bin down at the two places for just green waste, because I understand it’s piling up in your yards,” said Department of Environmental Services Director Lori Kahikina.
Residents will only be able to drop off items damaged from last weekend’s storm. The bins will be removed and replaced each morning. Items not accepted include hazardous materials, major appliances, regular trash or any non-storm related debris.
Ross Sasamura, Department of Facility Maintenance director, says the city wants to extend additional services “to help residents that are actually impacted by sludge, mud, and sediment that’s deposited within their properties.”
Residents are urged to bring their bagged sludge to the street. Call 768-3600 to report what items need to picked up and where. For liability reasons, city crews are unable to pick up items left on residents’ property.
City officials are also urging the public not to drain their yards or pools into the storm drains.
“Please, please do not open the manholes,” Kahikina said. “You exacerbate our sewer system, which is not designed to take that extra flow. What’s going to happen is not only are you going to overwhelm our sewer lines, our treatment plants, our pump stations, it’s going to back up into your homes.”
Disaster recovery centers will be open next week to further assist residents:
- Waimanalo District Park: Monday and Wednesday, April 23 and 25, and
- Koko Head District Park: Tuesday and Thursday, April 24 and 26.
Caldwell says the centers will be a one-stop shop for residents to get all their questions and concerns answered about insurance, additional item removal, and monetary assistance.
“We will have all kinds of agencies out there from county, to state, to federal, not-for profits and government agencies to see what we can do to help this community,” Caldwell said.
The city is also offering homeowners a break in their property taxes if their house was damaged.
Steven Takara, administrator, Real Property Assessment Division, says the one-page form Remission of Taxes in Case of Natural Disasters (BFS-RP-P-48A) is simple to fill out, and requires the homeowner to describe the damage to their home.
“We’re here with you. We’re thinking about you, and we care about you,” said City Councilman Trevor Ozawa, who represents East Oahu. “We’ll be here with you every step of the way as we clean up.”