STATE, FEDERAL AND COUNTY INSPECTORS WRAPPING UP DAMAGE ASSESSMENTSPosted on Apr 24, 2018 in Information and News Releases, News Stories
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April 24, 2018
STATE, FEDERAL AND COUNTY INSPECTORS WRAPPING UP DAMAGE ASSESSMENTS
HONOLULU — Inspectors working with the state, City and County of Honolulu, the Small Business Administration, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have completed their joint preliminary assessments of damage to private property in Honolulu caused by recent heavy rains. Teams performing similar assessments of public infrastructure damage in Honolulu and for both public infrastructure damage and individual assistance on Kauai are expected to complete their work by the end of the week.
Public infrastructure assistance provides federal funding to repair public property and infrastructure, while individual assistance addresses private property.
The joint preliminary assessments are a required starting point for the process of obtaining a presidential declaration of an emergency or major disaster, said Lorinda Wong-Lau, chief of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) Disaster Assistance Section. “The process begins with the assessments,” she said, “which are then reviewed by FEMA to ensure that they are adequately documented, and also that we qualify for assistance. And they serve an important role in helping us deliver assistance where it is needed and authorized.”
If the damage assessment is adequate, the governor will submit a request for a presidential declaration through FEMA Region IX’s Regional Administrator.
“I think a lot of people misunderstand the process,” Wong-Lau said. They expect that FEMA will just appear and start providing assistance. We actually have to go through a number of steps to complete the paperwork and work with FEMA before the disaster declaration request is submitted to the president for approval. Right now, we believe we will be ready to submit our application within the next week or so, near the beginning of May. Based on the extent of the event and the amount of damage we’ve seen, I think that puts us right on schedule.”
If damage does not qualify for individual assistance, other federal programs and volunteer organizations may be available to help. “There are other sources that could be triggered,” Wong-Lau said. “We’ll keep looking for ways to help our residents.”
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