The effects of the April flooding continue to be felt on Kaua‘i and will be for the foreseeable future. Engineers and road crews are still at work repairing the single, badly damaged road leading to the affected north shore community. And a caravan system is still in operation – with officials slowly leading locals in and out of the area a few times a day.
The number of homes destroyed or rendered unusable on Kaua‘i’s hard-hit north shore is in the dozens. But the exact number is not clear because many dwellings were not built with permits. For the most part, non-permitted homes were not insured and are not being rebuilt. Re-construction has been further hampered because it is impossible to bring in large items due to road damage.
Some of those displaced by the flooding have moved in with family or friends whose homes are secure, doubling or tripling the previous number of occupants. Some have set up make-shift shelters on their land while others have been left homeless, drifting to other parts of the island.
Tools and work machinery were washed away or destroyed, leaving area laborers without income. Others lost jobs because the rigid caravan system of access made it virtually impossible for them to be at work when needed.
To make matters even more difficult, since there are no stores in the affected area, all essentials must be imported by way of that slow drive.
These stressful conditions are creating mental health challenges for adults as well as children. Fortunately, many State, County and non-profit organizations are on hand to help as rebuilding continues. Catholic Charities, the state Department of Health and Child & Family Services are on hand to offer counseling and other services. And the Hawaii Food Bank / Kaua‘i Branch has applied for funding to purchase two trailers to make food supplies more readily available to residents as well as re-construction workers.