Kauai Strong

The devastation of the April 15-16, 2018 storm is hard to grasp, especially given the isolation of the areas of worst damage. The flooding was incomprehensible, ripping out and floating away houses, raising flood levels so fast people barely had time to climb on their roofs where lifeguards conducted rescues on paddleboards and Jet Skis. The storm smashed our North Shore highway off the side of the cliff in places and covered it in a dozen landslides.

This community delivered truckloads upon truckloads of food, water and supplies to the stranded via multiple routes. Boating companies canceled tours to haul supplies and rescue the isolated. County, contracted and military helicopters made repeated trips into the blast zones. Local surfers on their personal watercraft hauled people to safety.

Our heart and prayers go out to all those affected by the recent floods and damage that occurred on Kaua’i.

Community volunteers, while their own homes languished wet and muddy, assisted in clearing roads. Residents sheltered newly homeless neighbors. Local helicopter companies and individuals donated helicopter time. Niihau Ranch supplied its military surplus landing craft to haul a dump truck and other heavy equipment for the relief effort to the beach at Wainiha. There was no other way to get that kind of equipment there with roads out.

Local businesses donated selflessly. So did local residents. If anything, at the peak of the emergency, there was a surplus of offers of assistance. The Kauai Emergency Management Agency established a special team to manage donations. Help came from off-island as well. Every Emergency Management Agency in the state offered help, and several had staffers assisting on Kauai. Coast Guard and National Guard aircraft were in the air over Kauai within hours.

Every emergency response agency under the sun showed up.

Working alongside were firefighters, police, medical personnel, utility representatives, finance and planning teams, communications experts, nongovernment organizations like the Red Cross, highways folks, attorneys and a whole lot of folks assigned to duties outside their normal occupations — hundreds of people on the ground, in the air, on the water, in heavy equipment, behind computers, huddled over maps and lists.
Our heart and prayers go out to all those affected by the recent floods and damage that occurred on Kaua’i.