Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Volunteers needed to assist with stream cleanups

Streams in Waianae-Makaha, Haleiwa and Laie will be the target of cleanup activities on Friday and Saturday to expunge debris that caused flooding and substantial damage to homes and businesses, but volunteers are needed to help see the project through.

Operation Lauwai is a coordinated effort by Hawaii State Civil Defense, Hawaii National Guard, other city and state agencies and state lawmakers to clean up streams clogged with foliage to prevent future flooding. The cleanup group will be in Waianae-Makaha and Haleiwa on Friday, February 6, 2009 from 7:30 a.m. to noon, and in Waianae-Makaha, Haleiwa and Laie on Saturday, February 7, 2009 from 7:30 a.m. to noon.

Target areas include Eku Stream and Mailiili-Puuhulu Stream on the Waianae Coast; Helemano-Opaeula Stream in Haleiwa; and Kahawaiuui Stream in Laie.

"Lauwai is another Hawaiian word for stream. We like to think that for this collaborative effort, Lauwai may be interpreted liberally from the words 'laulima' for cooperation and helping hands, and 'wai' for water," said Ed Teixeira, vice director of Hawaii State Civil Defense.

All volunteers should meet at the following locations. A site coordinator will be at each rally point to give brief volunteers and provide further directions:

Makaha: Makaha Marketplace – 84-1170 Farrington Highway
Waianae: Waianae Samoan Church – 86-130 Puhawai Road
Laie: (Saturday Only) Cane Haul Road next to the Cackle Fresh Outlet Store at 55-730 Kamehameha Highway. A State Civil Defense representative will be at the intersection of Cane Haul Road and Kamehameha Highway to direct volunteers
Haleiwa: Waialua Community Association (Historic Haleiwa Gym) - 66-434 Kamehameha Highway.

Volunteers should be 18 and over; wear protective footwear and clothing, hard hats (if possible), gloves, and sun protection; bring water, trash bags, chainsaws, and other tools to clear debris, if possible. If you can donate use of heavy equipment, please call Civil Defense to coordinate (733-4300).

Because many of our National Guard members have been deployed to the Middle East, Hawaii State Civil Defense will have a limited amount of guardsmen on location to help complete the project. State Representatives from the districts marked for cleanup are calling on community members, organizations and private businesses to come out, get their hands dirty, and help mitigate the threat of additional flooding in the respective communities. Several community groups and private companies have already signed on.

"The more hands and bodies available to help clear trash and debris, the more work that can be accomplished," said Representative Maile Shimabukuro, D-45 (Waianae, Makaha, Makua). "Anyone who has time to lend a hand or even donate refreshments or equipment should call Civil Defense for more information."

"Operation Lauwai is an excellent community volunteer effort bringing together state agencies, private business and our community members to help prevent future catastrophes," said Rep. Jessica Wooley, D-47 (Laie, Hauula, Punaluu, Kahana, Kaaawa, Waikane, Kahaluu, Ahuimanu, Kaneohe). "All residents should call Hawaii State Civil Defense as soon as possible if there is a stream that needs to be cleared of debris or vegetation."

"It's great to see private companies jumping on board to help our communities. I hope to see this coordinated effort repeat itself throughout the year. Let's get the storm-related debris out now, but continue community cleanups to thwart any future disasters," said Rep. Michael Magaoay, D-46 (Kaena Point, Schofield, Mokuleia, Waialua, Haleiwa, Waimea, Pupukea, Sunset, Kahuku, Kunia Camp, Poamoho, Wheeler, Laie)

Call or email Civil Defense at and 733-4300 for location information, meeting places and other questions.

Hawaii State Civil Defense Plan for Storm-Related Debris and Removal from Streams

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