President Donald Trump signed a disaster declaration request Friday for the Big Island, where lava from Kilauea has oozed out of 15 fissures, blocked off streets and destroyed at least 26 homes.
The disaster declaration will help the state mitigate costs for emergency protection measures and receive federal help for damaged public facilities and infrastructure, according to a press release from Gov. David Ige’s office.
The total cost to protect residents on the Big Island over the next month is expected to exceed $2.9 million. The state and county have already spent $400,000 since May 3 on emergency protective measures.
The aerial image from Friday, April 4, shows a column of reddish-brown ash plume after a magnitude 6.9 earthquake shook the Big Island. Since then lava flows have destroyed at least 26 homes and led to evacuations of two communities in the Puna area.
U.S Geological Service/AP
It’s the second such declaration the feds have granted Hawaii this week. On May 8, Trump approved federal disaster assistance following damaging floods on Kauai and Oahu.
Ige expressed gratitude for the speedy approval of his request in the press release.
A second request for help via the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hazard Mitigation Grant program will aid the whole state in preventing or reducing long-term impacts of natural hazards to people and property.
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz sent out a statement thanking the feds for acting quickly to aid the Big Island.
His colleague, U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, chimed in too.
“Federal, state, and county governments are coordinating and working together to ensure the safety of Hawaii Island residents and to assist communities affected by the ongoing volcanic activity on Hawaii Island,” Hirono said.
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