Yesterday volunteer Emery Sagucio served 150 plate lunches at the community center at Nanawale. There was only one problem, says Kellie Swift, who’s been coordinating relief services there: “500 families a day coming in to be fed. We cannot feed them. There’s not enough coming in.”
Swift welcomes all the help her stricken community can get. Today, she says, “A bunch of farmers from Ka’u and Waimea coming in to grill meat” on three barbecues donated by Hawaiian Way. She’s expecting two vans full of cleaning supplies, toiletries and canned foods to distribute. HELCO she said, was coming today, and may set up a command center there. 4,000 pounds of dry ice came in from O`ahu yesterday.
“Ace Hardware in Pahoa brought in a bunch of D batteries,” she notes. ” That was just a godsend.”
But the situation is still bad. The narrow paths cleared along the streets so far need to be widened before HELCO can even begin work. The seven crews working on road clearance, she says are so tired that they “can’t even feel their arms.” The community also needs volunteers to help clear lines on private property, she says, since “HECO’s main focus is the main lines.”
At least five homes, she says, were totally destroyed, including one lost in a fire caused by candles. Several other homes have been damaged by candle-related fires. And the full extent of the damage still isn’t known, because parts of the subdivision are still accessible only on foot.
Yesterday, she says, “we found a family that were stuck—had no way to get in or out.” The family, she said had been surviving for a week on whatever food they’d had in the house at the time of the storm.
Among urgent needs, she says are canned goods, portable stoves, and “gas cards.”
“People cannot even get out to get a shower, because they’re out of gas and out of money,” she notes.
Another thing she “really needs,” she says, is “an organization to step in and do like a hot breakfast, a hot lunch, a hot dinner.”