Big Island relief: Disaster assistance, shelters and distribution of supplies

Photo courtesy Olivia Tavares

The following is a round-up of the latest information on disaster assistance, emergency shelters and distribution of supplies.

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency

The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency is setting up Disaster Assistance and Recovery Centers to provide information and services to people whose property was damaged by Iselle.

The centers will be open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. at the following locations and specified dates:

  • Pahoa Community Center, 15-2910 Puna Road – Thursday, Aug. 14 and Friday, Aug. 15
  • Mountain View Gym, 18-1345 A Volcano Road – Saturday, Aug. 16 and Sunday, Aug. 17

Representatives from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), the County of Hawaii, along with not-for-profit, non-governmental agencies, will be on hand.

Information gathered from the centers’ visitors will help determine whether a federal disaster declaration has been met.

For more information, contact HI-EMA at (808) 733-4300 or email

American Red Cross, Hawaii Chapter

The Hawaii Red Cross Shelter at the Pahoa Community Center will stay open to help anyone impacted by the storm. Residents needing to stay in the shelter will be provided with meals and a cot to sleep on and will also be able to take a shower and charge their phones at any time of the day.

Red Cross volunteers will continue to distribute relief supplies on Saturday, August 16 to those in need at the following locations and times (as supplies last):

  • Pahoa Community Center parking lot – 15-2910 Puna Road, Pahoa (10am-6pm)
  • Mountain View Gym – 18-1345 A Volcano Road, Volcano, HI 96771 (10am-6pm)

Click here for more information.


The Hawaii State Bar Association has set up a free disaster relief legal hotline for residents affected by Iselle during the following dates and times: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, August 18-20, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Call toll-free at 1-888-609-5463.

Federal Emergency Management Agency

While FEMA has worked with Hi-EMA, the Governor’s Office, non-profit groups and others to prepare for Iselle, no Federal Disaster Declaration has yet been declared. Starting on Friday, as requested by the state, FEMA and Small Business Administration experts will join state counterparts on the ground to conduct Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDAs) to determine if federal Public (infrastructural) or Individual assistance is warranted. Until those PDAs are completed and evaluated, and the Governor’s requests a presidential disaster declaration, no FEMA disaster related facilities can be opened.

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