Remote town gets fresh supplies
Residents of Maui's Kipahulu are isolated by a faulty bridge
WAILUKU » With a break in clouds over Maui, a Hawaii Army National Guard helicopter made emergency deliveries of equipment and food to more than 300 residents isolated in Kipahulu in east Maui.
The two airlifts yesterday carried milk and other essential food, along with four 55-gallon drums of gasoline, 54 containers of propane, 52 five-gallon jugs of water and a National Guard generator.
"The overall response was real nice," said Ed Lincoln, a Kipahulu resident.
Lincoln said the airlift provided residents with the things they had put on the top of their list, including propane fuel for cooking, refrigeration and hot showers.
Lincoln said an ice machine has been provided for residents who use ice boxes for refrigeration and normally buy their ice outside Kipahulu.
Kipahulu residents said they were also grateful that the county has left an employee in Kipahulu to assist them.
Residents said they are generally accustomed to being self-sufficient and not going to the store everyday, so being somewhat isolated hasn't hurt them severely.
"The community is as prepared as a community could be. We're all self-sufficient livers," Lincoln said.
Maui County official Lynn Araki-Regan said more food, about 3,500 pounds, will be sent to Kipahulu early next week.
Araki-Regan said the operation involving federal, state and county agencies went smoothly.
"We're thankful to various county, state and federal agencies ... for making this a success," she said.
The airlift had been planned for earlier this week, but foul weather on Maui, including low-lying clouds, delayed delivery until yesterday.
The CH47 helicopter made two trips from the Kahului Airport to a helicopter site at Haleakala National Park in Kipahulu.
After last month's earthquakes and torrential rains, road traffic and transport has been limited and dangerous because of the damaged Paihi Bridge between Kipahulu and Hana Town and because of potential landslides on the back road near Kaupo.
The bridge has been closed and county officials have discouraged people from using the back road. County officials said this week that a replacement bridge is expected to be installed in 20 to 30 days.