(from Rep. Shimabukuro's blog)
The bill, introduced by Rep. Karen Awana (District 44 – Honokai Hale, Nanakuli, Lualualei) proposes a model disaster preparedness plan for the Leeward Coast which can be expanded for other areas of the state in the future. This area of Oahu has the potential to be severely impacted by natural and man-made disasters due to the following factors:
* There is one main highway into and out of the area, with no alternate routes. Closure of the roadway leaves residents stranded.
*There is a large homeless population in the area living on the beaches with limited resources.
*The elderly have limited access to disaster shelters and transportation services.
*The growing population in the area relies heavily on public transportation.
“A disaster preparedness plan for the Leeward Coast is long overdue,” said Rep. Maile Shimabukuro (District 45 – Waianae, Makaha, Makua). “I hope this empowers Civil Defense to move forward with a plan that will protect the community. We are all deeply concerned for the safety of the residents in the event of a disaster.”
The law authorizes but does not require Civil Defense to prepare a plan. If the department goes forward with the plan, the Director of Civil Defense must submit a report to the legislature prior to the start of the 2011 legislative session.
“A disaster preparedness plan is so critical to our community,” said Rep. Awana. “If a major disaster closes the road, this places our people in serious jeopardy. We need to have a plan in place so that we are prepared to deal with the inevitable disaster that will strike. It’s a matter of health and safety.”