Food, supplies airlifted to Kauai residents stranded after severe flooding


Efforts are underway to get emergency supplies to Kauai communities hardest hit by the weekend’s massive storm.

Multi-agency relief efforts continued Tuesday for residents and visitors stranded in the isolated communities of Haena and Wainiha. Landslides continue to block access along Kuhio Highway between Waikoko and Wainiha. With roads reduced to rubble, food, water, and supplies had to be brought in by sea or air.

In Princeville, locals and military worked side-by-side to bring donated food and supplies to the stranded. ATVs were loaded with essentials and driven into a chopper.

Wainiha residents Hanalei Hemosura and Kaimi Kaneholani dropped off supplies to those in need, including family.

“I had family members calling, because I used to work with the county before, I have connections in the county, and they were just calling and saying, ‘We need you guys out here. We need help. We need food. The kupuna need their medication,'” Kaneholani said.

The U.S. Army, National Guard, and the County of Kauai airlifted more than 220 people from the area Monday­. Officials warn residents who wish to be evacuated that there’s no timeframe for when they can return home.

Resident Leela Henderson is taking it all in stride. The storm separated her from her mother. Three days and one airlift brought them together again.

“It was the best feeling. Me and my mom are super close. She’s my favorite person in the world, so it was really hard to be away from her,” Henderson said. “It was probably the best thing to just be able to see her and my dad again.”

For people leaving the area between Kilauea and Hanalei, the Kauai Bus is allowing free service and will also allow luggage on board. The carry-on policy will be waived for those leaving the disaster area.

How you can help

Donations are currently being accepted at:

The Kilauea Neighborhood Center is currently open as a Red Cross shelter. Thirteen people remained there as of noon Tuesday.

Items being accepted include:

  • Non-perishables;
  • Bottled water;
  • Hygiene items;
  • Diapers;
  • Baby food and formula.

If you are on the island, Kauai Independent Food Bank is looking for volunteers. Call (808) 246-3809 for details.

The Shops at Kukuiula and Alexander & Baldwin, in coordination with Kukuiula Development Company, Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, and Poipu Beach Resort Association (PBRA), will hold a disaster relief drive on Wednesday, April 18, from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Palm Court of the Kauai Culinary Market at The Shops at Kukuiula.

The relief drive will support local recovery efforts. Hawaii Life Charitable Fund will have a collection table accepting monetary donations and will match donations up to $25,000. PBRA will have a collection table for non-perishable items, bottled water, clothing and other supplies to specifically support the recovery efforts in Koloa Town.

Road closures

The state Department of Transportation continues to work to clear landslides along Kuhio Highway, while Kauai Utility Cooperative and Hawaiian Telcom crews simultaneously work on repairs to fallen utility poles.

Click here for the full damage report from the DOT.

Current road closures include the following:

  • Kuhio Highway, between Waikoko and Wainiha, due to multiple landslides;
  • A portion of Kahiliholo Road in Kilauea;
  • Lei o Papa Road in Princeville due to a sinkhole;
  • Hanalei Plantation Road in Princeville due to a sinkhole; and
  • Weke Road in the vicinity of Black Pot Beach.

For updates on road conditions and closures, please call 241-1725. Please do not call Kauai police 911 unless you have an emergency.

Brown water, ‘do not drink,’ conservation advisories

All residents and visitors on Kauai are advised to stay out of flood waters and limit exposure.

Heavy rains have caused storm water runoff throughout Kauai, leading to widespread flooding producing large areas of standing water. Coastal waters have also been affected and a brown water advisory remains in effect until further notice.

If you must enter brown water along coastlines or in areas where water has pooled due to flooding, take precautions to cover any open wounds or injuries, and be sure to wash and rinse thoroughly with soap and clean water afterward. 

Practice good sanitation. Wash your hands often with soap and clean water to prevent spreading and contracting any illnesses, especially before handling and preparing food to avoid food contamination. If soap and clean water is unavailable, hand sanitizer may be used instead.

Make sure to throw away spoiled or unrefrigerated food to prevent foodborne illnesses. Minimize the presence of flies and rodents by disposing of food in covered and sealed containers.

The Department of Water has issued a “do not drink” advisory for customers located along a portion of Weke Road, from Pilikoa Street to the makai end of Weke Road toward Black Pot Beach in Hanalei.

DOW crews have repaired a portion of a damaged main line to restore water to the affected area, however, due to the exposure to the service lines from recent damage, residents along the described portion of Weke Road in Hanalei are advised not to drink or cook with tap water, as a precautionary measure, until further notice.

A water conservation notice from Princeville Utilities Co. continues for all its customers in Princeville, Anini Vista, Kalihiwai Bay Estates, Kapaka Road, and Hanalei Plantation Road. As the pipe empties, some air or sediment may enter home plumbing.  When turning on your faucet after water service is restored, allow your water to run until it is clear to ensure flushing of any air or sediment from your plumbing.

Links to resources

The Federal Aviation Agency has issued a temporary flight restriction for areas in Hanalei and Wainiha for aircraft and drones. Please avoid the area to help ensure the safety of first responders during their ongoing emergency operations.

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