Residents move fast to avoid water


POSTED: Friday, December 12, 2008


Flooding water scooped up Cyprian Galbiso's red 1991 Volkswagen Jetta yesterday, sending it down Kaukonahua Stream.


;[Preview]    Two Waialua Homes Swept Off Their Foundations  

North Shore residents say they had no warning before the river rose dangerous high.


Watch ]





  “;It was floating, just went out, just like a boat,”; said the 46-year-old painter.


Galbiso lives in one of six wooden duplexes in Otake Camp in Waialua alongside the stream.

After the water receded, mud covered the ground, and residents hosed down their stairs and used a wheelbarrow to carry away silt and debris.

Otake Camp resident Ashley Hagmoc, 21, walked through the mud wearing white dirt-bike boots up to her shins to grab some clothes.

She was upset the Civil Defense, police or firefighters never warned the neighborhood as they usually do.

“;We woke up from our neighbors,”; she said. “;There was nobody the whole day.”;

Phetsamone Souksamily, 51, lost about $30,000 in farming equipment on his Kaupe Road farm. Within 15 minutes the property flooded to his chest, and he had to flee with only his clothes and a towel on his head.

Souksamily said it was the busy time of year for his lei flower business.

“;Bad, so bad,”; he said.

Also on Kaupe Road, several feet of water ran through the Nery family's three-bedroom basement apartment.

“;The icebox was floating when I opened the door,”; said Tony Nery, 34.

After the water passed, his wife, Jenn, stood in ankle-deep water washing muddy clothes. She only had enough time to round up the kids, save important documents and grab the baby albums and her father-in-law's ashes.

“;It was so fast,”; she said. “;I was crying.”;

It will be a bleak Christmas now that her two children's presents were ruined.

“;After a while you realize it's all materialistic,”; she said. “;You realize everyone's OK.”;

Water also flooded Haleiwa Road, carrying silt, picking up cars and flooding businesses and homes.

Mike Lyons, chairman of the neighborhood board, helped wash the silt off the Killer Tacos parking lot. He said residents have been complaining for decades about the flooding danger. A flood planning meeting, scheduled before the storm, will be held Wednesday.

“;It's ridiculous,”; he said. “;Everybody's saying we have a problem.”;

He said flooding in Haleiwa could have been prevented if the mouth of Kaiaka Bay had been cleared out.

About eight businesses and several homes in the area were flooded, he said.

By about 2 p.m. seven families had checked into the Red Cross emergency shelter at Waialua Intermediate and High School.

“;Most of these families only came here because they lost everything,”; said Red Cross volunteer Moana Pacatang. “;Their houses are completely flooded.”;

James Omoto and his wife lost their mushroom farm, and their home on Crozier Drive was flooded.

Mrs. Omoto, who declined to give her first name, said she had seen nothing like the chest high-water before.

“;It is what it is,”; James Omoto said. “;I'm blessed my family is OK.”;