Kauai County seeking Presidential Disaster Declaration to help residents affected by landslide

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HANALEI (KHON2) – Hawaii Department of Transportation crews began the preliminary works on Kuhio Highway Friday morning. The Hanalei landslide continues to cut off Kauai’s norths shore.

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The HDOT is sticking with their Tuesday plan of reopening a single emergency access lane, but says the weather is putting a tough challenge.

“We did see that they had covered the landslide site with with a plastic covering to help are shield it from the weather,” said Derek Kawakami, mayor of Kauai County.

The HDOT says in a worst case scenario, it could take up to three months to reopen.

Residents in Hanalei, Wainiha and Haena are completely cut off from the rest of the island. Kauai County will tap into alternative resources like barge and helicopters to access isolated residents.

“We are working to get a presidentially declared disaster declaration to the governor’s office and HI-EMA so that we can start possibly using transportation by air. That’s going to be required to use that sort of asset and resource,” said Mayor Kawakami.

The heavy rain is not putting a damper on the aloha spirit. Malama Kauai is delivering food boxes across Hanalei River.

“They just have some small boats going across and it takes quite a few loads to get things over there,” said Rosemary Vali, a volunteer with Malama Kauai. “We’re going to restaurants yesterday and the firemen were working hard, getting gasoline and supplies for their trucks and people.”

“They’re meeting people that live on the other side and we have volunteers there that are taking the food,” said Anni Caporuscio with Malama Kauai. “You can order online and everyone is communicating via email and text.”

Volunteers will be out in full force until the reopening of Kuhio Highway.

To order a food box or necessities from Malama Kauai, click here.

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