SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 17 September 2021, Friday |

Hawaii declares state of emergency after rains cause floods

Hawaii Governor David Ige declared an emergency in the U.S. state after heavy rains brought floods, landslides and fear of dam failures, prompting evacuations in at least 2 counties, while flood advisories stayed in effect for a second day.

The move came after a dam overflowed on the island of Maui, forcing evacuations and destroying homes, with the dam’s “unsatisfactory” condition leading to it being scheduled for removal this year, the land department has said.

Ige said on Tuesday “the emergency proclamation makes state general funds available that can be used quickly and efficiently to help those impacted by the severe weather.”

Poor weather was expected to run until Friday, he added. There were no immediate reports of deaths or casualties.

The emergency declaration covers the counties of Hawai’i, Maui, Kalawao, O’ahu and Kaua’i, the governor’s office said in a statement, while the disaster relief period runs until May 8.

In Maui, heavy rains damaged roads, leaving them impassable, with one bridge completely washed out and another displaced, the governor’s office said, as higher water levels boosted the risk of erosion and seepage.

State emergency management officials had said the rains led to the cresting of the Kaupakalua dam in the northern region of Haiku, prompting authorities to open evacuation shelters and call on people not to return home.

Maui mayor, Michael Victorino, said 6 homes were heavily damaged or destroyed.