Recently, the island of Kaua‘i was ravaged by heavy rainfall that caused widespread flooding, landslides and sinkholes. Twenty-eight inches* of rain fell in just 24 hours on Kaua‘i's North Shore. As a result, the island has seen devastating damage to homes, property and the broader landscape, particularly in Hanalei, Ha‘ena and Wainiha. This natural disaster has affected many of our clients, employees, as well as our entire Kaua‘i ‘community.
(*Update: The Washington Post has since reported that this number was closer to 50 inches of rainfall, potentially breaking a national record)
Many Kaua‘i residents have given up long days to help with the evacuation of those trapped on the North Shore. I have personally been touched by the way this community has rallied in recent days, in the most remarkable ways. Devoted volunteers and nonprofit organizations are here on the ground assisting in recovery efforts as I write this, working alongside the National Guard and Coast Guard. These include the Red Cross and Malama Kaua‘i. The road to recovery will be a long one, but I know that we can restore this special and cherished place to its former glory, and return to life as normal.
A Heartfelt Mahalo
We are so grateful to our many constituents for your kind contributions to the Hawai‘i Life Charitable Fund this past week. In the aftermath of the storm, we reached out to all of you – both in Hawai‘i and beyond – with a hope of raising money for disaster relief efforts. Your response and the outpouring of support has been overwhelming. I want to share a heartfelt thank you – a huge mahalo to each contributor for your generosity and kindness. We also wish to thank our partners at the Hawai‘i Community Foundation for their assistance in guiding us in this matter, in order to positively impact our community to greatest effect.
Where Your Contributions Are Going
The Hawai‘i Life Charitable Fund and its volunteer board have forwarded your donations, along with $50,000 in matching funds from Hawai‘i Life Real Estate Brokers, to those organizations who are here on the ground on Kaua‘i. We have earmarked $25,000 for Malama Kaua‘i to assist specifically with disaster relief efforts. We have also directed $25,000 to the Red Cross. Those funds will be used to support their assistance to flood victims on both O‘ahu and Kaua‘i.
Above and beyond these contributions, any further donations received* by the Hawai‘i Life Charitable Fund will be transferred to the Hawai‘i Community Foundation Kaua‘i Relief and Recovery Fund, which has been set up to focus on the long-term and evolving impacts of the flooding.
(*Please note that as of May 12, 2018, total fundraising for this effort reached $150,744.27, including the $50K in matching funds from Hawai‘i Life. Contributions have come from Hawai‘i residents, but also from as far away as California, Canada, Texas and Colorado.)
Hanalei, The North Shore, and Kaua‘i's Immediate Future
Anyone who has visited Hanalei on Kaua‘i’s North Shore knows that it is unrivaled in natural beauty. We consider it to be one of the most spectacular locales in Hawai‘i, and indeed, in the world. We want you to know that it still is! While the beaches and some spots may be sporadically closed, the charming town of Hanalei is open for business. As always, the people are friendly, open and grateful for your visit. As always, the beauty of Hanalei's mountains and waterfalls is remarkable.
Here on the North Shore, the Hanalei Bridge has been cleared. Visitors should be aware that landslides further along the road to Lumahai still have residents trapped in Ha‘ena and Wainiha. Currently, emergency vehicles and crews are trying to clear the road. It's anticipated that project will continue for the next two to three months. In the south, charming small towns like Koloa, for which Kaua‘i is well known, have also been affected by the heavy rains, but they are recovering quickly.
For the foreseeable future, Kaua‘i’s North Shore will be rebuilding. Local schools have been impacted and there’s been an outpouring of support from the community to get things back in order so that our children can return to school. There are displaced residents and businesses that aren’t yet operational, which means that local jobs have been impacted, as well. With so much to do, we’d like to do our part to ensure that local businesses and tourism are thriving, but also that the traffic flow and recovery efforts are not impeded.
How You Can Help
Please know that we very much look forward to reporting that all areas of Kaua‘i are back in tip-top shape and ready to wow you with their incredible beauty, beaches, hiking, surfing, the slow-paced way of life, and endless small town charms. The recovery efforts are in full swing. If you visit Kaua‘i in the coming weeks, please be mindful of these suggestions:
- Please support local businesses. Please spend money while you're here. Local businesses need your help, now more than ever. If you visit these areas, especially those impacted by the floods, please dine out and buy things from local vendors. They need your support.
- Please continue to give generously to the Hawai‘i Life Charitable Fund, to Malama Kaua‘i, or any other reputable organizations helping with the disaster relief efforts.
- Please be conscious of the fact that many areas are still very much a disaster zone. Please make every effort not to impede the relief efforts of the County, State or National Guard.
- Please carpool whenever possible on the island of Kaua‘i. The fewer cars on the road in the next month or two, the better.
With these considerations in mind, we invite you to experience the beauty of Kaua‘i. Check out Some of Our Favorite Summer Vacation Spots For Hawai‘i Residents & Visitors for some fresh ideas for your summer season getaway. This roundup includes Poipu on Kaua‘i's southern shores.
Mahalo nui loa for your continued support of our community!