What about us?

HA‘ENA — As heavy rains made landfall earlier this week, many residents and visitors were stranded, unable to get to their homes or hotel rooms. Almost immediately, nonprofit agencies, volunteers and the county administration mobilized to assist those in need of shelter, clothing or food.

But what about those in Wainiha and Ha‘ena — Kaua‘i’s most remote communities on the North Shore?

“There’s a whole community out here, and somebody needs to figure out a way to get to us,” said Vivian Caldwell, a Lake Forest, Calif., resident who bought a condo at Hanalei Colony Resort 20 years ago, before Hurricane ‘Iniki hit Kaua‘i in 1992.

Caldwell said no one came to aid those stranded in Ha‘ena during the days in which rising waters closed off access to the North shore.

“It gets to a point, if you ran out of food and you’ve got a lot of elderly people as well as other people out here, they need to start helicoptering in food,” she said.

The power went out in many parts of Ha‘ena and Wainiha, and food in refrigerators started to rot, according to Caldwell.

“We only have one restaurant here, and they didn’t give (food) away,” she said. “They sold it.”

Caldwell said she and her husband got in line to buy food. But because they are elderly and have back and leg problems, they could not stand up for a long period, so they left empty handed.

“We had to walk away,” said Caldwell, adding that on the next day she and her husband arrived earlier to stand in line to purchase food. “We were able to get some food, but it was almost out because there was no deliveries out here.”

As bridges reopened and electricity was re-established, Caldwell said she and many others were relieved.

“When you run out of food, when the food all rots in your refrigerator, then you’re in trouble,” she said. “Another day and we would’ve probably been in a lot of trouble. You can believe how happy we were to see the electricity come back on. It scared me to death because we wouldn’t have had any food left.”

Caldwell said she doesn’t have answers or solutions; she was just wondering if anyone thought about those stranded in the far reaches of Kaua‘i’s North Shore.

Now that the worst has passed, the North Shore is still “a mess,” she said. “The mountains were falling down.” The road between Princeville and Hanalei has only one lane open due to a landslide and, if it suffers further damage, the communities from Hanalei to the end of the road will be in trouble, she said.

“It’s a real problem. It isn’t like we’ve got things that other parts of the island have,” Caldwell said. “We’re really in trouble out here.”

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


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