The Hawaiian island of Kauai has been hit by a front of severe rainfall over the course of the weekend, and now the local authorities are left to deal with the aftermath, reports the Daily Mail.
The heavy rain started early on Saturday (April 15) morning and kept pouring down until the next day, creating mudslides that left dozens of people stranded.
The Washington Post described it as “historic rain,” since the heavy torrent amounted to two feet of rain in just 24 hours’ time.
Distressing photos and videos shared by Hawaii New Now reveal the extensive devastation caused by the flash flooding, which also triggered landslides that damaged the road infrastructure.
Flood waters drove people out of their homes, completely destroying at least two houses, which sources report were uninhabited. The landslides that followed blocked the island’s main access road, Kuhio Highway, which was not yet reopened as of this morning.
Roads covered by piles of mud and debris became impracticable, cutting off both tourists and residents. As a result, 30 campers were marooned yesterday in the Napali Coast State Wilderness Park, notes the Daily Mail.
Another 40 people, most of them tourists, became stranded for half a day in the northern town of Hanale and spent Saturday night in a Red Cross shelter stationed in an elementary school.
Emergency crews evacuated more than 340 people from the island, Time Magazine reports, citing Hawaii New Now. Rescuers and volunteers mobilized to retrieve 152 people by helicopter, while others stuck in flood-stricken areas were rescued via jet ski. An additional 121 people were boarded on buses and transported to safe grounds, informed the governor’s office.
Because of the landslide damage caused on Kuhio Highway, residents forced to leave their homes don’t know when they will be able to return to their abandoned houses. Officials had already notified them that their return home might be problematic since it largely depends on the state of the roads.
Hawaiians who opted to stay in Kauai have been provided with emergency supplies that are available at Camp Naue or at the Hanalei Colony Resort, states Hawaii New Now.
According to the news outlet, Governor David Ige is taking steps to solve the problem of restricted access in the Hanalei District, including the towns of Wainiha and Haena, where the swollen Hanalei River has caused massive damage.
“Crews are working to restore access to the Hanalei District, but it will take some time. We are establishing landing zones for aircraft,” the governor of Hawaii wrote on Twitter.
Authorities have issued a “do not drink” advisory in Wainiha and Haena and are cautioning residents in other areas to ration their water supply.