Cash help heading to Kauai

  • Haena resident Beaux Birch, left, hugs friend Diana Penchoff before evacuation on a U.S. Army Chinook on Tuesday in Haena, Kauai. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)

HONOLULU — Hawaii lawmakers are appropriating $125 million to help with flood relief efforts on Kauai and elsewhere in the state.

House and Senate leaders said Wednesday the money would support road, bridge and infrastructure repairs.

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Kauai will receive $100 million of the money. The remainder will go to sites statewide.

Also on Wednesday, Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg announced in a press release they, too, would support Kauai disaster relief with a $1 million commitment.

In response to severe flooding on the island of Kauai, Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg have pledged to donate $1 million to organizations working tirelessly to assist the community’s storm relief efforts as well long-term recovery.

“Kauai has become our family’s retreat and sanctuary,” stated Chan and Zuckerberg in a release that praised the island for “working tirelessly.” “We are heartbroken by the floods and are committed to helping the community recover and rebuild an even stronger one.”

The donation will support organizations helping the north shore and Koloa recover from the acute phase of the disaster, including Hawaii Community Foundation, Kauai Habitat for Humanity and Kauai Economic Opportunity.

The contributions are in addition to donations Zuckerberg and Chan made to the American Red Cross and Malama Kauai earlier this week.

House Finance Committee Chairwoman Rep. Sylvia Luke said the state and counties are assessing the damage done. But she added it’s important to supply the immediate cash infusion to support the people of Kauai.

The funds will be allotted to the state Department of Defense budget for this fiscal year.

At least 2 feet of rain dumped on Hanalei on Kauai’s north shore during a 24-hour period over the weekend. The rain left people stranded in a shelter that became surrounded by water, homes damaged or washed off foundations and landslides along roadways.

Kauai residents struggling with the aftermath of torrential rains are bracing for the possibility of more flooding.

The National Weather Service said a flash flood watch is in effect for the Hawaiian island starting Thursday.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho said officials will be keeping a close eye on the weather.

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Since Monday, military and county emergency workers have airlifted more than 340 people from the isolated north shore towns of Haena and Wainiha. Evacuations are ongoing.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige on Sunday declared Kauai a disaster.

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