After shelters close, Red Cross helps assess damage

LIHU‘E — Now that the emergency shelters are closed, American Red Cross volunteers on Kaua‘i are helping assess damage from this week’s heavy rains on Kaua‘i, spokeswoman Maria Lutz said Wednesday.

“It was really challenging getting around,” Lutz, Red Cross director of emergency services, said about the work of Red Cross volunteers opening, supporting or managing shelters.

“We also supplied cots and other amenities, and we did provide some meals for the evacuees within those shelters,” she said.

The nonprofit agency reported that 85 people stayed in shelters during the storms. “It appeared we had mainly tourists in the shelters,” Lutz said.

On Monday night, the Kilauea Neighborhood Center sheltered seven people, Kapa‘a Middle School sheltered 33 people and Lihu‘e Neighborhood Center sheltered 30 people.

Waioli Church, which was managed independently from the Red Cross, sheltered 15 people Monday night.

By Tuesday night, all shelters were closed, Lutz said.

“Today we have damage assessment teams,” she said. “Those are volunteers who are going out into the different neighborhoods.

They are looking at the homes and trying to determine the degree of damage that has affected all the residences.”

Lutz said there were Red Cross volunteer teams in North Shore, Eastside, Lihu‘e and Westside communities Wednesday.

“They are trying to better understand the scope of the damage from the storm,” she said.

“But flooding can be really complicated because there can be pockets of flooding in different places.”

Volunteers will provide information they collect to county agencies, she said.

No financial compensation will be distributed to families at this point. “We’re just really trying to assess the overall need,” Lutz said.

“The next phase will be determined by what they need in the community,” she said.

The Red Cross encourages those affected by the storm to call 645-1911. Visit for more information or to make an online donation.

• Léo Azambuja, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or lazambuja@


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