Wednesday, November 3, 2004


Standing on a heap of trash and debris, Spc. Ariton Abordonado of the Hawaii National Guard helped clean out the yard at Noelani School yesterday. The flood left mud and debris all over the campus.

Stream frightens

A Civil Defense official concedes
the danger of future flash flooding

Manoa residents, who were still shoveling mud and dumping carpeting soaked from weekend flooding, say preventive measures along Manoa Stream need to be taken before loss of life occurs.

"If school was in session, we would have a tragedy," said former schoolteacher Corinne Shigemoto, who lives behind Noelani School. "Noelani is first to get hit."

Shigemoto's 84-year-old mother-in-law was trapped inside the below-grade portion of her home with her dog when floodwaters came gushing through the windows Saturday night.

Weather officials said the rain that drenched Manoa Saturday was the result of a twice-a- century storm, and a long-range project must be looked at for the stream, said Ed Teixeira, vice director of state Civil Defense.

Damage assessment will begin today by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Small Business Administration for home disaster loans.

Civil Defense workers went door to door yesterday reminding residents to seek help at the Disaster Assistance and Recovery Center at Manoa Valley District Park today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Yesterday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the city did a joint assessment of the storm debris in Manoa Stream to see what kind of federal programs could help with debris clearance.

While residents cleaned their homes, the city cleaned streets and dredged mud, silt and debris from the streams.

City personnel worked to break in half the 40-ton, 80-foot concrete Pawaina Street footbridge that collapsed into the stream, so that they could pull it out.

City workers were also busy yesterday picking up bulky items and removing waste and debris. The Hawaii Army National Guard's 298th Engineer Detachment, with cadets from UH and the 29th Brigade Rear Detachment, also assisted with debris removal at Noelani School, and the 297th Firefighters cleaned the streets.

Corinne Shigemoto's husband, Earl, said that bridges needed to be raised or the stream needs to be widened because debris clogs under the bridge and washes over and around them.

He noted how low the bottom of the bridges are to the stream at Woodlawn Drive and Lowrey Avenue, where most of the devastation occurred Saturday.

Neighbor Scott Nekota suggested creating arched bridges.

Teixeira said the stream has been fortified with concrete in certain segments such as culvert crossings.

"Overall, it's a natural stream, unlike Moanalua Valley," he said, because much of it is privately owned.

A steady stream of people stopped to gawk at, photograph and videotape the three cars still sitting precariously on huge uprooted trees on the bank of the stream at the Woodlawn Drive bridge (across from Longs Drug in Manoa Marketplace).



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