National Guard, Red Cross aid in Big Island recovery

In the video above, provided by Hawaii National Guard, SFC Ryan Taniguchi, 227th Brigade Engineer Battalion, describes the recovery efforts after Hurricane Iselle.

While Iselle has come and gone, residents who live where she made landfall are still feeling her effects.

There are still thousands without power and hundreds without running water, but luckily some organizations are helping.

Organizations like the American Red Cross and Hawaii National Guard were some of the first to arrive.

“We’ve been working tirelessly throughout the weekend to help those especially in Puna,” said Coralie Matayoshi, CEO, American Red Cross, Hawaii Chapter.

For Red Cross volunteers, their aim is to help with shelters and handing out supplies.

“Right now, we are going to be operating a distribution center for those who need water, work gloves, trash bags things like that as well as meals at the Pahoa Community Center,” Matayoshi said.

Related Story: Red Cross Pahoa shelter to hand out meals and supplies

They currently have more than 275 volunteers helping out, many who helped run shelters during the storm as well as the shelters that are still being used.

“I know there’s about 9,200 people without electricity and 500 without water and so they’re going to need out help there at the Red Cross shelter,” Matayoshi said.

With power still out for thousands of people, Hawaiian Electric sent crews and equipment from Oahu and Maui, and is working around the clock to get the power back on.

The National Guard is also helping. Some of their job duties are a little different than Red Cross volunteers.

“You have whole areas and, in some areas, isolated homes that are virtually cut off,” said Lt. Col. Charles Anthony, Hawaii National Guard. “What the Hawaii National Guard is doing at the request of the Big Island Civil Defense is we started doing security for some neighborhoods.”

The security is to make sure there are no looters. They’re also helping with some debris removal and damage assessment.

“These damage assessment teams go out into the community and they can pinpoint exactly where the house or road that is in need of repair is and where they are located,” Lt. Col. Anthony said. “There’s still thousands on the Big Island who are suffering the effects of Iselle and we are going to get to their needs as quickly as possible.”

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