Hazard Mitigation Plan Seeks Local Feedback
By Jack Kiyonaga, Reporter
The State of Hawaii 2023 Hazard Mitigation Plan is being created right now. Representatives from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) are seeking input from Molokai residents on the types of hazards they would like identified in the plan.
Updated every five years, the hazard mitigation plan aims to “protect communities against the threats of flooding, hurricanes, wildfire, tsunamis and other hazards,” by “taking action now, before the next disaster,” according to a recent news release from HI-EMA.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will use the state plan to create a list of projects requiring funding. This list will be ranked, at least in part, by a social vulnerability index, explained State Mitigation Forum Chair David Kennard.
This is where Molokai has a unique opportunity. On the social vulnerability map for Maui County, Molokai is ranked the highest. As such, Molokai will score better on projects up for review, explained Kennard.
Kennard and several other HI-EMA representatives traveled to the Mitchell Pauole Center on April 19 to meet with community members and field feedback on Molokai specific hazard mitigation projects. Only a few Molokai residents were in attendance.
Those there raised salient hazards such as efforts to relocate the police station and move fuel lines underground.
While being on what Kennard called “a relatively short timeline,” with a draft of the plan due to FEMA by the beginning of summer and slated for the governor’s approval in October, residents should reach out now if they wish to have input.
The 1043-page 2018 plan is available online for residents to get a sense of which projects have been successful in the past.
“I think the main thing this year…we really want to make it more user friendly,” said Kelsey Yamanaka, Acting State Hazard Mitigation Officer. Yamanaka explained that the agency is working on making the online plan easier to understand. Feedback from residents is critical.
“We want to hear from you,” said Yamanaka.
Molokai residents can provide feedback by emailing the Maui Emergency Management Agency at firstname.lastname@example.org.