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Federal government taking a new approach to disaster recovery

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When big storms threaten Hawaii, residents can expect changes to the way the government helps.    

Say goodbye to handouts, the federal government is taking a new approach to disaster recovery.

It wants to help residents help themselves.

"We have to stop looking at citizens as survivors only and how do we tap into citizens as being part of the solution going forward as well," Brock Long, FEMA administrator said. 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is changing the way it approaches future natural disasters.

FEMA has updated its response plans following Hurricane Maria's devastation in Puerto Rico.

When it found out Hurricane Lane was headed for Hawaii, it sent more than 2,900 responders to the state and while supplies came along with them, they weren't the focus.

"What we did coming into Hawaii was right off the bat instead of saying how much food and water can FEMA bring in, let's assess where the wholesale grocers are right now versus where they want to be," Long said. 

FEMA wants to keep stores open. The agency studied how it could keep private businesses in business to give residents a way to get the goods they need.

"We remain here, we will be here, we are aware of the catastrophic effects Lane's rainfall and flooding are having in various parts of the state and we look forward to standing shoulder to shoulder with our local partners as recovery continues," Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Department of Homeland Security said.

Federal officials have been in Hawaii since April's record setting rains. They've seen the Kilauea Eruption destroy more than 700 homes. 

They say they'll remain here, working side by side with the state until the recovery from Hurricane lane is over.

"We will continually be partners in monitoring and keeping the community safe 24 hours a day, 365 days out of the year because that's our collective commitment and collective responsibility," Gov. David Ige said.