Multiple Kauai homes completely destroyed, millions more needed to repair roads after historic flood

Local News

Nearly two weeks after historic flooding caused major damage on Kauai, county members were briefed by county employees on preliminary damage assessments. 

Preliminary numbers show 66 homes with major damage. 

Inspectors count 15 more homes as destroyed. 

Kauai county counted 3.6 million in damage to county roads, of which 2.2 million is for damage sustained on Weke Road, near Hanalei Beach Park. 

Parts of Kuhio Highway is still closed off due to multiple landslides. The state Department of Transportation wants to open the road by May 7th. 

It is the only road into the towns of Wainiha and Haena, making it difficult for the isolated communities to travel to work, or get supplies like medication. 

With nowhere to go, homeowners are focusing on making their homes livable again. 

For days following the flood, Ricky Ewing used a paddle board to get off his front lawn. He says flood waters that seeped into his home were as high as 31 inches. 

“I’m 41 years old, that’s when my dad got this place. It’s the worst we’ve seen it in that amount of time,” said Ewing. 

His next door neighbor described the flood as “The Apocalypse. Honestly. It was like a river coming down,” said Gary Rensburger. 

Both houses are damaged. 

But this is home. Neither want to leave. 

It will take a long time to rebuild, made harder by the closed off road. 

“The road is scary. You run out of food…you don’t know how long they’ll bring us food.  I’d like to stay here and defend my home and clean up and help in any way that I can in the community,” said Kaena. 
     
Affected communities on Kauai include Haena, Wainiha, Hanalei, Koloa, and Keapana. 

It’s what county officials think of as they work to repair the Garden Island. 

They’re tapping into 5 million of a 14 million dollar county emergency budget to fix the roads. 

Though damage is bad, the community is grateful it wasn’t worse. 

“This stuff. We can deal with it. It’s gonna come back. It’s gonna take a little bit. But we can rebuild. We can always rebuild. But lives, we cannot bring back. We’re fortunate to not lose any lives. We gotta be thankful for that. Mahalo ke akua,” said Anahola resident Kaimi Kaneholani. 

“When it comes to this, you gotta bind together. For me, my lifetime, this the best coordination. Kauai is showing. Maybe showing the world, of how people work together,” said Haena resident Samson Mahuiki, 81. 

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