There is a long road to recovery for Kaua‘i after last weekend’s historic rainfall and flooding. Between Saturday, April 14 and Sunday, April 15, 28 inches of rain drenched the Garden Isle in a 24 hour span causing massive floods, landslides and sinkholes that ravaged the roads. The kalo (taro) fields, town’s iconic pier, beach park and river are so heavily altered that they are barely recognizable. Five landslides decimated Kūhio Highway on Saturday night, cutting off the only road into the north side of Kaua‘i, forcing the firefighters and lifeguards to evacuate residents via jet ski and boat. There are several lifeguards and fire fighters that have lost their homes in the floods, but continue to serve the community diligently, assisting with evacuations and getting supplies to those unable to leave their neighborhoods. Damage is widespread on the island with flooding also displacing many ‘ohana on the south side as well. Governor David Ige and Mayor Bernard Carvalho declared a state of emergency by Sunday afternoon.
The National Guard was sent in to aid local rescue officials and so far there are over 350 people were evacuated by helicopters and many by sea. With so much mud and debris on the roads it’s extremely difficult to drive and many residents are cutoff with no running water or electricity. At this point there are many families displaced in shelters. Houses and possessions are lost or beyond repair. Vehicles are overturned and roads and bridges are in shambles.
Yet, the people of Kaua‘i are rallying with all of the State responding, and so are we.
OluKai is extending support with helping hands on the ground, donating work boots and redirecting race registration fees from our annual Ho’Olaule’a paddle race to the Kaua’i Lifeguard Association. We invite you to give back by donating to the Kaua’i guards or to Kaua’i at large through the Hawaii Community Fund.
There is an ‘ōlelo no‘eau (Hawaiian proverb) that is a source of inspiration for the arduous task of rebuilding the Garden Isle: Pa‘akiki kānaka o Kaua‘I (Tough are the people of Kaua‘i). This saying comes from an ‘ōlelo (story) about a group of Kaua‘i warriors that defeated a supernatural man eater on O‘ahu. Will you join us in helping Kaua‘i rebuild so that this ‘ōlelo no‘eau will also refer to the modern efforts of the Garden Isle’s residents after this historic flood?