News Release – NR09-01 – January 2, 2009

Posted on Jan 2, 2009 in 2009 News Releases, News-Releases

HONOLULU – Governor Linda Lingle has sent a request to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

Edward T. Schafer for an agricultural disaster declaration for Kaua`i County and the City & County of Honolulu due to the heavy rain and flooding that occurred between December 10 and 16, 2008.


The letter, dated December 26, 2008, requests a Secretarial Disaster Declaration for agricultural production losses as well as physical losses sustained by farmers in the two counties.  The request will start the procedure for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) to determine the extent of agricultural losses and report to the Secretary. 


“The Hawai`i Department of Agriculture has received reports of significant damage to agricultural crops due to the storm,” said Sandra Lee Kunimoto, Chairperson of the Hawai`i Board of Agriculture. “We expect that those farmers will continue to experience losses in production in the coming weeks and months.”


If a disaster declaration is issued by the Secretary, farmers will be able apply for assistance, such as low-interest loans from the federal government.


On December 24, Governor Lingle requested a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Individual Assistance and Public Assistance for the City & County of Honolulu, and Public Assistance for Kaua‘i County., which can provide disaster assistance to individuals, as well as state and local government and non-profit agencies to repair damage caused by the storm to infrastructure and buildings. 


On December 13, the Governor also requested an administrative disaster declaration for the City and County of Honolulu from the U. S. Small Business Administration (USSBA). Approval of the USSBA request will make available long-term low-interest loans to businesses, home owners, and renters impacted by the high winds and flooding. 


More than 500 O`ahu residents have reported damage to their homes or vehicles and it has been estimated that damages on Kaua`i exceeds $2.5 million.