A Flood of Help
The Kaua‘i Extension team helped provide information when hundreds of rural families and farmers showed up seeking answers and assistance at a flood-recovery community meeting on May 3 in Hanalei town, following similar meetings in Koloa and Anahola earlier in the week. Emilie Kirk and Russell Messing represented CTAHR among an array of federal, State, county, and non-governmental organizations providing assistance to those impacted by the worst flooding and landslides in decades on the Garden Island. In addition to concerns about basic needs like health, shelter, transportation, and education, many agricultural questions were on people’s minds as the immediate impacts of the disaster began to be mitigated (roads to several northern communities were only opened on May 4, more than two weeks after the flood!). Russell and Emilie fielded queries about silt removal, soil and water testing, food safety, farm infrastructure, and more. In opening remarks to the crowd, Emilie emphasized that CTAHR is here for the long haul, and will prioritize helping impacted farmers and ranchers get back into production. Several agricultural technicians from CTAHR’s Kaua‘i Agricultural Research Center—Randy Yokoyama, Michael Carle, and Tyrus Moises—have already been in the trenches, pitching in with the hard work of taro farm recovery efforts. The Kaua‘i team is proud to represent CTAHR, and the University of Hawai‘i, in this time of community cooperation.