U.S. Army Corps of Engineers representatives participated in the Upcountry Resource Fair held at the Kula Community Center in Kula, Hawai'i Sept. 18. The event provided an opportunity for residents who were impacted by the recent fires in Kula to receive disaster relief information from various government and non-profit agencies.
“The event brings resources closer to the community that is impacted, and those are the residents of Kula and Upcountry,” said Yuki Lei Kashiwa Sugimura, vice-chair of the Maui County Council. “We really appreciate the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers because you all are a big part of our recovery. We appreciate the grace and consideration from both the Army Corps and FEMA that has been shown to us through all of this.”
Representatives from USACE, County of Maui and California Governor's Office of Emergency Services were available to answer questions from residents regarding the county’s consolidated debris removal program. Maui County is overseeing priorities during the fire cleanup while working in partnership with state and federal agencies who are on Maui to support the community with this process. The cleanup process includes two phases. Phase 1 is a removal of household hazardous materials; Phase 2 is the removal of other fire-related debris.
To obtain service through the government-sponsored program, a property owner must complete a right-of-entry form to allow USACE to begin debris removal on a property. No removal of fire-damaged material will begin on private property without the permission of the property owner.
Kula residents Joseph and Sweetheart Mori were appreciative of the opportunity to ask questions about the voluntary fire debris removal program and were eager to submit their right-of-entry forms.
“We’ve never been in a situation this massive,” said Sweetheart Mori, whose home was destroyed by the fires. “I don’t know anybody qualified enough to be able to handle all of this, to clean something like this up. I don’t know anyone that is able to do it except for them. This is so kind of them to want to help, to want to clean this up, and to do it for free,” she said. “We’re antsy you know. We have nothing to go back to there. There is nothing left, so, we want to get this done.”
Phase 2 cleanup can only initiate after Phase 1 hazardous materials removal is complete. Phase 2 of the consolidated debris removal program will then allow USACE to conduct the safe removal and handling of fire-damaged debris from destroyed properties.
For more information, affected property owners should visit: www.MauiRecovers.org/recovery/debrisremoval.