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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, March 4, 2006

How to deal with flooding problems

 •  Flood cleanup begins

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Staff Writer

House or business flooded? What now?

  • Call 911. Honolulu firefighters can help pump water out of a home and provide other emergency assistance.

  • To report damage and loss information, call 211.

  • Call the American Red Cross at 734-2101. Volunteers spent yesterday responding to flooding from Kualoa Ranch to Punalu'u, passing out kits donated by Wal-Mart and helping to assess the damage. Volunteers and donations are welcome. Call 739-8109, check online at www.hawaiiredcross.org or write to American Red Cross Hawaii State Chapter, 4155 Diamond Head Road, Honolulu, HI, 96816

    State health officials offer these tips before returning to a flooded property:

  • Get the mess out: Remove all floodwater, dirt and debris.

  • Clean and dry moldy or mildewed building materials. Any materials or furnishings that have soaked up water should be removed from the premises.

  • Check carpet and padding to see if it's flooded and needs to be thrown away.

  • Wet down mold with a soapy solution from a spray bottle to prevent mold from getting into the air. Do this even if the material is already wet because the mold might not be wet. Mold can still make you sick even after you have sprayed disinfectants to kill it. Use a liquid chlorine bleach solution (one cup bleach to one gallon water) to disinfect. Then let dry.

  • Stay safe: wear gloves, rubber or hard-soled boots, safety goggles or face mask and stay alert.


  • State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism officials plan to set up a disaster assistance center to answer questions and help residents/businesses fill out forms.

  • The governor's disaster declaration triggers the availability of low-interest loans. Call state business loan officer Alex Watanabe at 586-2579.

  • State agriculture emergency loans will be available, handled by Agricultural Loan Division administrator Dean Matsukawa at 973-9460.

  • The city's disaster assistance loan program also is activated, making available up to $30,000 in loans per rental unit and $125,000 per property, city officials said. Interest rates are 0 percent and 2 percent. Call the city's rehabilitation loan branch at 527-5907.


    Hawaiian Electric Co. storm tips:

  • If you see a downed power line, don't go near it. On O'ahu, call the HECO trouble line at 548-7961. On Maui, call 871-8777, for Lana'i and Moloka'i, call (877) 871-8461. For Big Island, call 969-6666. For Kaua'i call 246-8200

  • If your house is flooded to where water is reaching outlets and appliances, turn off the electricity at the breaker box.

  • Once your house dries out, you should call in an electrician to check the damage.

    Roads closed:

    Check this Web site: www.co.honolulu.hi.us/cameras/


    State transportation officials offer tips on driving safely in wet weather:

  • Avoid driving, if possible. Otherwise, avoid flooded areas.

  • If you have to drive through puddles and on rain-slick roads, slow down.

  • After you drive through puddles, tap your brakes to dry them out.


  • The city stopped bus service on Kamehameha Highway between Hygienic Store in Kahalu'u and Hau'ula Shopping Center in both directions for a time yesterday.

  • Kailua-bound buses were being diverted to Likelike Highway while Pali Highway was closed. Call Oahu Transit Services at 848-5555 for information. Handi-van riders should call 456-5555 for the latest service. On the Web: www.thebus.org


  • The rain prompted the closure of the city's Ala Wai and Pali golf courses yesterday, and play at the 'Ewa Villages course was limited to nine holes.


  • To report a sewage or chemical spill on O'ahu, call the city at 768-7272.

  • State health officials advise people to stay out of murky coastal waters because of urban run-off, overflowing sewage, overflowing cesspools or septic tanks as well as animal waste washed into streams and storm drains.


    Residents should also be aware of the risk of picking up gastrointestinal illnesses and even leptospirosis from floodwaters. The state Department of Health says:

  • Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that causes flu-like symptoms and, in rare cases, death.

  • People in Hawai'i commonly get leptospirosis when wading or swimming in streams, ponds and other freshwater sources contaminated by animal urine.

  • Symptoms include fever, nausea, chills, headache, vomiting, diarrhea and body aches. More serious symptoms include jaundice, kidney failure and heart failure.

  • Stay out of fresh water and muddy areas if you have open cuts or blisters. Don't put your head underwater or drink stream water. See a doctor if symptoms arise.

    Reach Robbie Dingeman at rdingeman@honoluluadvertiser.com.