"Upcountry" Maui Still Recovering

Thanks to "Kimberly127" for the her comment on the post Hawaii Blizzards today:

"My name is Kimberley and I live, well used to live, in the Kula area mentioned. My home was destroyed by the same flash flood that knocked the family in Hawaiian Homestead of the foundation. My family lost our home and everything we owned. This was a horrible act of nature and yet not enough to be considered a "federal" disaster. Not enough to receive any financial aid from our federal government.

"Hopefully Maui residents, especially upcountry residents, will continue to pull together because it seems all we really have is each other. To anyone still needing assistance the Red Cross has unbelievable volunteers that can reach out and help you. Let's pray for a less traumatic year, God knows me and my family need one."

Thank you for the comment, Kimberly. I wish you and your family well as you try to rebuild your lives. It is easy to read about a disaster and move on, but for those involved it takes a long time to recover from something like that. I know the good people of Maui will lend a hand.

This is also a good reminder for people everywhere to be grateful for the basic things they have - food, clothing, shelter, family, friends, and community. And to volunteer and/or contribute to organizations that are needed when some of our neighbors are affected by a disaster such as this one.

The following appeared in The Maui News on December 23rd:

Maui Red Cross volunteers, staff, donors help storm victims


Although the weather is clearing up, many Maui residents have been devastated by the Dec. 4-8 storm.

One family came to our Pukalani disaster recovery center seeking assistance after losing nearly all of their possessions in the Kula mudslide. As the mother of three young children approached our Red Cross table, she noticed a teddy bear.

Our volunteer offered the bear, and the client began to cry because it looked exactly like her young son’s favorite bear that was destroyed in the storm. She explained that the original stuffed animal had been a gift from the child’s grandmother on the day her son was born.

Her genuine gratitude brought everyone to tears and made us all realize how even little things can help others heal from their losses.

In the past few weeks, 40 Maui Red Cross volunteers and staff worked tirelessly running three shelters, conducting damage assessments, doing client casework, staffing Disaster Assistance Recovery Centers, serving 200 meals and distributing dozens of cleanup and comfort kits to victims of this local disaster.

Three homes on Maui were destroyed, eight incurred major damage and 37 sustained minor damage, which includes homes with up to 2 feet of water inside.

So far, we have assisted 23 Maui families with $12,000 in financial aid for their immediate emergency needs such as temporary housing, food, clothing, bedding and storage containers. We anticipate giving out an additional $18,000 for rent and security deposits to Maui residents whose homes were deemed uninhabitable.

Statewide, the Red Cross is assisting at least 35 families with about $50,000 in financial aid to help them get back on their feet.

Mahalo to our wonderful volunteers and everyone involved in the disaster relief effort, including Cafe La Plage, Longs Drugs, Minit Stop, Pukalani Superette, Safeway, Serpicos, Starbucks and Wal-Mart for their generous in-kind donations of food, coffee and cleaning supplies.

Together, we made a difference, and so can you, by supporting the Red Cross in Hawaii.

All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year, disasters like the Hawaii winter storms, by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of disaster.

The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster, like the Hawaii winter storms, please do so at the time of your donation.

To make a contribution, please call (808) 739-8109, go online to www.hawaiiredcross.org, or mail your donation to American Red Cross, Hawaii State Chapter, 4155 Diamond Head Road, Honolulu 96816.

Mariana Matthew is the Maui County director, American Red Cross – Hawaii State Chapter.

*"Upcountry" is a local Maui expression referring to an area on the western slope of Haleakala mountain comprising several communities.


Don Snabulus said...

We wish Kimberley a quick-as-possible recovery. Governor Lingle signed a disaster proclamation for the entire state so hopefully help is on the way.

In the mean time, we can use Pandabonium's link to help the Hawaii Red Cross to provide relief.

Happysurfer said...

Kimberley, my heart goes out to you and your family. I wish you well as you try to rebuild your lives.

PandaB, thank you for the highlight and the reminder to be thankful for the things that we so often take for granted.