On April 15th 2018, Kaua’i suffered its worst natural disaster in 25 years. According to KHON2 News, a record-breaking 27 inches of rain within 24 hours caused flash floods and landslides that devastated the Hanalei, Wainiha, Ha`ena, and Anahola areas. These relentless forces of nature drowned several homes, cars, and facilities; schools and shelters had to close their doors for repairs and surrounding damage. Emergency helicopter air rescues and evacuations were needed, and surviving residents were left without power or access to clean water.
In wake of this tragedy, Kaua`i’s community has since come together in an effort to heal itself. Nonprofit organizations like Red Cross Kaua`i are constantly collecting donations (both monetary and resource-based) and distributing them where they’re needed most on the island with the help of the island's residents. In addition, online fundraising campaigns for Kaua`i’s relief have been trending amongst Hawai`i residents on Facebook and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, famously known to be of Polynesian descent, even posted an Instagram video on May 12 encouraging his followers to donate to Mālama Kaua`i’s fundraiser that has since closed after raising $52,657 of its $55,000 goal. Because of this, the nonprofit has been able to distribute significant amounts of aid island-wide.
However, the work is far from over for Kaua`i. Houses are still underwater, leaving many families without shelter. Debris overwhelms the island and continues to block roads. Bodies continue to be found in streams.
If you aren’t a Hawai`i resident (or The Rock) you may think there’s nothing you can do to help. That’s where you’re wrong. Despite it having been nearly a month since the disaster, several areas in Kaua`i are still in need of funds to facilitate repairs and relief efforts in severely damaged areas.
Most needed would be flood relief for North Shore residents in the Hanalei & Ha`ena areas, as detailed by their GoFundMe campaign here. These are the people whose homes went underwater. Currently, they’ve raised $298,551 of their $1.0M goal since posting a month ago. In asking for such a large amount, the campaign seeks to distribute funds to the thousands of families and businesses who need it most in this specific area.
The Anahola Taro Patch has a GoFundMe page here. Taro, in addition to being a central part of Native Hawaiian agriculture, also plays a large role in Hawai`i’s history. The recent flooding has drowned this taro patch’s crops and destroyed surrounding facilities needed to maintain it. As of now, the campaign has only raised $4,877 of its $17,000 goal since it was posted over one month ago. They need the money to repair their water line, rebuild infrastructure, and remove heavy debris to rebuild themselves and continue cultivating Native Hawaiian agriculture on the island.
In addition, you can also donate to the American Red Cross online here, which allows you to put your money specifically towards overall disaster relief in Hawai`i. By selecting this option, your donation will most likely go towards relief for both Kaua`i’s flood and the current Kilauea eruption on the Big Island. You can also donate by calling (808) 739-8109.
If you are unable to donate or have already done so, you can still help by sharing this article or these campaign links with someone who might be able to. If you have relatives or friends who live in the area, encourage them to volunteer their time to local relief efforts seeking manpower.
Today, on May 28, 2018, the people of Kaua`i continue to struggle a month after being hit with the worst natural disaster their island has seen to date. Without much current local news coverage, let alone national news coverage, the often-forgotten island’s need is slowly becoming background noise. Keep Kaua`i in your prayers by keeping the conversation going.