July 02, 2018

Hirono Continues Advocacy for Hawaii Island Residents Affected by Ongoing Volcanic Activity

LOWER PUNA – Senator Mazie K. Hirono continued her advocacy for Hawaii Island communities affected by ongoing volcanic activity during a visit to Puna today. Senator Hirono met with affected residents, volunteers, and business owners in visits to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Recovery Center, World Central Kitchen, Pahoa Community Center, Sacred Heart Church/Hope Services, and a meeting with floriculture growers.

“Hawaii Island residents and business owners continue to demonstrate incredible resilience in the face of a major ongoing disaster,” Senator Hirono said. “The approval of Individual Assistance has unlocked new federal resources, but the response to and recovery from this disaster requires a long-term, sustained commitment from every level of government. I will continue to advocate for these communities in Washington, D.C. to ensure they get the assistance they need at this difficult time.”

During her visit to the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center, Senator Hirono met with representatives from several federal, state, and local agencies who are in Puna to assist affected residents. She also met with members of AmeriCorps’ FEMA Corps who are helping connect residents with resources available to them. 

Senator Hirono visited volunteers at World Central Kitchen’s facility in Pahoa, where volunteers are cooking and serving thousands of meals to residents affected by the ongoing Kilauea eruption.

Senator Hirono also visited the newly-constructed 20-home community at Sacred Heart Church that will provide shelter to seniors and families with young children. During her visit, she met with Brandee Menino – the CEO of Hope Services – and Gilbert Aguinaldo – a local business owner – who were instrumental in the success of the project.

In a meeting with local floriculture growers, Senator Hirono discussed the ongoing challenges the eruption poses to regional agriculture, and discussed the potential impact of her recent amendment to the Farm Bill – which would provide additional assistance to agricultural producers affected by the eruption.

Senator Hirono also visited with evacuees at the temporary shelter at the Pahoa Community Center.

Since the eruption began, Senator Hirono has been a persistent advocate for affected residents.

Last week, Senator Hirono led Hawaii’s Congressional Delegation in asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide the maximum assistance possible to local farmers impacted by the eruption.

Senator Hirono published resources and information from government agencies on her website for Hawaii residents affected by recent natural disasters. This page includes instructions for replacing important documents and updated information on federal services in impacted communities. Last month, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed Senator Hirono’s bill to strengthen volcano monitoring centers like the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.