Dis­as­ter and hope

TGI re­porter Jes­sica Else shares per­spec­tive of the sit­u­a­tion in Hanalei af­ter bridge opens

The Garden Island - - Morning Briefing - Jes­sica Else

HANALEI — A white Jeep was plunged nose-down in the taro patch by the Bike Dok­tor in Hanalei on Mon­day af­ter­noon.

A lit­tle fur­ther down­town, the sign for Na Pali Coast Boat Tours hung hap­haz­ardly on a bro­ken chain. The road to Black Pot Beach Park was blocked by Kauai Po­lice Depart­ment as giant sink­holes now dot the park­ing lot, filled with their own over­turned cars.

A house on Hanalei Bay is now caved in the cen­ter, chairs and other fur­ni­ture float­ing in a pool of wa­ter that nearly cov­ers the lanai.

One res­i­dent said he thought it looked like a river just opened up and tried to swal­low the house. I thought that was a pretty ac­cu­rate de­scrip­tion as I picked my way around boul­ders and pre­car­i­ous pieces of sod to get a bet­ter view of the col­lapsed build­ing.

That’s not the only house that went down in the storm, ei­ther. There are home­own­ers all over Kauai’s North Shore that lost ev­ery­thing in the last few days.

Kuhio High­way and the Hanalei Bridge re­opened in the early af­ter­noon on Mon­day, af­ter days of tor­ren­tial rains flooded Kauai. Driv­ing through, the Haraguchi Taro fields put the dev­as­ta­tion into per­spec­tive. They sit just past the bridge, and were en­com­passed in a mas­sive mud pud­dle with a swollen Hanalei River match­ing their color.

In the midst of riv­ets of mud and de­bris laden grass that lined the high­way, two nene grazed en­thu­si­as­ti­cally, their heads barely vis­i­ble above sticks, logs and pieces of plas­tic.

Their fer­vor was matched by the rest of Hanalei’s res­i­dents, who were step­ping out of their homes and shel­ters, stretch­ing their legs and sur­vey­ing the dam­age. Neigh­bors swapped sto­ries from car win­dows, vol­un­teer­ing what help they could and ac­cept­ing what help they needed.

At Hanalei Bay, sev­eral boats and Jet Skis car­ried sup­plies be­yond Hanalei, where peo­ple are still stranded and sev­eral cases of beer made it over along with wa­ter and food, thanks to the folks in Hanalei.

Some peo­ple looked ner­vously at the sky as the af­ter­noon wore on, won­der­ing if an­other rain would close the road again, but most said they were thank­ful it was just one clo­sure be­tween them and the rest of the is­land.

Those liv­ing in Wainiha and Ha’ena are still cut off from the rest of the is­land by mul­ti­ple land­slides, and ef­forts are on­go­ing to make sure they’ve got enough food and wa­ter.

Hanalei, which re­mains a dis­as­ter zone, is also a sanc­tu­ary and the stage for re­lief ef­forts for those who were hit worse. ••• Jes­sica Else, en­vi­ron­men­tal re­porter, can be reached at 245-0452 or jelse@the­gar­denis­land.com.

JES­SICA ELSE / THE GAR­DEN IS­LAND

This house, on Hanalei Bay, was one of sev­eral dam­aged in the thun­der­storms that drenched Kauai.

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