Governor signs request for disaster declaration, Puna hiking trail closed

Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed Thursday a request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration asking for federal assistance to help pay for damage caused by Tropical Storm Iselle, which impacted Hawaii from August 7 to 9, 2014.

The request seeks Individual Assistance for Hawaii County. Individual Assistance would make additional funding, loans and services available to affected residents.

Residents continue to feel the effects of the storm nearly two weeks later as several hundred homes remain without power and cleanup efforts continue.

Meanwhile, the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife has closed the Puna hiking trail until further notice, due to severe tree fall caused by Iselle.

The downed trees are blocking access to Haena (Shipman) beach in the South Hilo area.

“Removal of these downed trees will take DOFAW crews some time to complete,” said Steven Bergfeld, DOFAW Hawaii branch manager. “DOFAW appreciates the public’s cooperation and understanding the need to keep this trail closed for public safety until it can be cleared.”

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