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Oahu flood victims face months of cleanup - Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather - KITV Channel 4

Oahu flood victims face months of cleanup

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Niu Valley, Hawaii -

Gov. David Ige signed a supplementary emergency proclamation declaring the City and County of Honolulu a disaster area after flooding caused heavy damage in East Honolulu, from Niu Valley to Waimanalo.

Wednesday, Mayor Caldwell issued the same emergency declaration. And on April 15, the governor issued the original proclamation declaring Kauai a disaster area.

"We will continue to support Kauai, Honolulu counties, and residents during the recovery and rebuilding phases. We are also working with FEMA and the counties to ensure the process is as quick and efficient as possible. Although recovery will take time, the state will be there every step of the way,” says Gov. Ige.

The proclamation authorizes the expenditure of state monies as appropriated for the quick and efficient relief of damage caused by the floods.

Meanwhile, Island News visited one of the hardest hit neighborhoods on Oahu - Niu Valley. A muddy mess driving along Niuiki Circle is just a taste of what's inside many homes here.

Five days after heavy rains flooded East Oahu, people are just starting to dry out and clean up. Homeowner Debbie Hedrick is one of them. "The entire house was under mud and water."

Everything is damaged in Hedrick's home. Hedrick has to rip up floors, discard furniture, and hang new walls. 

The den is one of the hardest hit areas of the house. Hedrick says the mud level was about two feet off the ground, but the mold specialist told her the spores are already creeping up fast, so she will have to demolish four feet of her drywall all the way around.

Once it gets into porous material, it's safer to remove it, advises Premier Restoration Hawaii expert Rob Egbert, a full service company that does water extraction, drying, demolition, critical cleanup, mold remediation, and even reconstruction. Egbert says of the floodwater bacteria count: "With that water comes bacteria, viruses, and microbes that you otherwise don't want to have in your house."

It will take three or six months to fix. Premier Restoration Hawaii is booked solid with a wait list.

So are other companies, like AAA Restoration. We found staffer Craig Chalmers working on another Niuiki Circle home. They're lucky to have booked him so quickly, because he says the company is "slammed, super busy, with jobs on hold."

If you have to wait, he advises, be patient. "Make sure a professional does it to make sure all the airborne spores are killed." 

Chalmers says he thinks Niuiki Circle is one of the worst hit parts of town. It wouldn't be a surprise - these are other homes we saw just driving around this short loop. And yet, amid this chaos, Hedrick says people still have so much aloha spirit.

"It's Hawaii. Everyone is coming together and talking to each other," Hedrick says. "The people around us are a great help."

Also, as of Thursday, April 19, city bulky item collection crews with the Department of Environmental Services completed their initial sweep of all areas from East Oahu to Waimanalo that were identified by the American Red Cross as most-impacted by what's being called "The 30-Year Storm." According to the American Red Cross, three homes were destroyed and another 163 were damaged by severe flash flooding.

As the clean-up continues over the coming days, the city encourages affected residents to either place their bulky items for curbside collection, or drop them off at the collection bins stationed at the Hawai‘i Kai Park and Ride lot and Kawaikui Beach Park. Thursday, the city added a second bin to both of these locations and the bins will remain in place through the weekend. 

Meanwhile, bulky item collection crews will be back out in the impacted areas on Friday and through next week, which is when bulky item collection is normally scheduled to start in East Honolulu.

For residents in the areas of Waiaalae-Kahala through Aina Haina, make sure your bulky items are placed at the curb by 6 a.m. Monday morning, April 23, to ensure collection.

For residents in the areas of Niu Valley though Hawaii Kai, make sure your bulky items are placed at the curb by 6 a.m. Wednesday morning, April 25, to ensure collection.

If your bulky items have not been collected by Saturday, April 28, call the Department of Environmental Services, Refuse Division, at (808) 768-3200 or email them at collection@honolulu.gov.  

Residents impacted by the storm are asked to refrain from taking their bulky waste to the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill as it’s the city’s goal to incinerate the waste at H-POWER.

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