Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Vog in Wood Valley

Sabine Hendreschke lives in Wood Valley. She recently wrote to Rep. Bob Herkes on her personal account of what the residents are going through on the Big Island. She gave her permission to make this email public:

My name is Sabine Hendreschke. I am resident of Wood Valley located above Pahala in the Ka'u District.

We have been experiencing serious vog issues in our small community. The vog gets caught in the mountains which greatly intensifies its effects. Many of the plants are terribly burned; some of them are completely dead. Often, after a few hours of intense vog, the effects on the plants can be seen immediately. The leaves turn yellow, burn and drop on the same day. Even the trees are affected.

Lately it has been literally raining burned leaves. McCall Flower Farm as well as Stanley Mizuno's carnation farm have suffered losses, losing their flowers, laying off their workers and maybe having to shut down completely in the near future.

Animals are suffering also. Many calves have been stillborn on Kapapala Ranch. And what about us, the people. As of lately, I have become very concerned about my health. I often feel without energy. All I want to do is lie down and rest. Many people feel that way. In the heavy vog, even in the house with the doors and the windows closed, breathing is hard, our sinuses are affected. Many feel dizzy and disoriented. It is truly scary.

Looking at the plants and animals, I wonder what this air is doing to humans. Some of my neighbors have already rented houses in other areas. Some are thinking about completely moving away. I spend most of my nights in Pahala at a friend's house. We are hit pretty hard here. Changing the situation is out of our control. We can only pray and hope that it will stop. If it keeps going like this, living in our beautiful valley will become impossible.

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