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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Thursday, July 22, 2004

Disaster loans available to flood-damaged firms

Associated Press

Small businesses on O'ahu, Maui and the Big Island that suffered flood damage during storms throughout the winter may be eligible for low-interest disaster loans of up to $1.5 million, federal officials said yesterday.

The loans, with an interest rate of 2.9 percent over a maximum term of 30 years, are being made available by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Loans are to help businesses meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met if not for the damage from severe weather between Dec. 7 and March 26, the agency said in a news release.

"Eligibility for these working capital loans is based on the financial impact of the disaster only, and not on any actual property damage," said Alfred E. Judd, the agency's disaster area director.

A disaster proclamation signed by Gov. Linda Lingle in December made businesses and homeowners on O'ahu eligible for some financial assistance from the state. The proclamation was amended in May to include other islands.

During some of the heaviest storms in March, parts of the Big Island recorded as much as 15 inches of rain in a 24-hour period.

In February, storms pounded O'ahu, causing a mudslide in a Kalihi Valley neighborhood that washed away a 20-foot section of Likelike Highway. Police said the rain left a hole 10 feet wide and 12 feet deep in the Honolulu-bound lanes.