KILAUEA — It’s been nearly three months since the historic flooding wreaked havoc on Kauai and there’s still much work to be done.
Some of the residents who lost homes, said Megan Fox, executive director for Malama Kauai, have moved off island or to other communities on the island.
Some are living in temporary homes on their properties, camping, staying with friends and relatives, or have secured short-term rentals.
Flood relief efforts, Fox said, are challenging because relief funds and volunteers are in demand while their numbers dwindle.
“People still need lots of help and communities are just showing up for each other as best we can, to let them know they’re not forgotten,” Fox said.
Neighbors, she said, are taking care of neighbors.
“There are a lot of opportunities to help out, whether running on work crews to help with rebuilding in different neighborhoods around the island, assisting in publicized public work days, helping with admin tasks and so much more. We try to keep our website’s Flood Relief page as updated as possible, with volunteer opportunities,” Fox said.
As far as donations go, Fox said there’s a need for bicycles, appliances, furniture, rebuilding and construction supplies, commercial farm equipment and cash.
“We are taking materials from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Common Ground in Kilauea, Monday through Friday and distributing them to those who need them by working with community leads in each area,” she said.
Additionally, she said, they’re asking groups to sponsor temporary homes, for those on the North Shore, who want to live on their property while their home gets repaired or rebuilt. The sponsorship costs about $1,000, she said.
Vehicles are also another huge need for impacted families.
“Many residents lost their vehicles. To be able to get around and even access general resources, that’s a tougher one to solve, but desperately needed,” Fox said.
Though it’s impossible to tell how long volunteers for the relief effort will be needed, Fox said the most active groups are planning on working through Labor Day, though Habitat for Humanity’s larger rebuilding projects may go on longer.
“It takes awhile for communities to fully recover and get back on their feet from these kinds of disasters. We just need to be ready to continue to be there, (and) show up for each other as long as it’s needed and work together to see it through,” Fox said.
Since the flooding, Fox said she has seen the immense power of resiliency and aloha.
“So many people across the island have stepped up and given so much of themselves to help their neighbors in whatever way they can. When everyone does something small, it adds up quickly,” she said.
Bethany Freudenthal, Courts, Crime and County reporter, 652-7891 firstname.lastname@example.org