President Trump declares state a major disaster for Kauai and Oahu flooding

HONOLULU (AP) — President Donald Trump has approved the state’s request for a major disaster declaration for the floods, landslides and mudslides on Kauai and Oahu.

Gov. David Ige requested the federal declaration May 2, following the April storms.

Ige, a Democrat, said the approval prepares the state to receive federal assistance with emergency work and the repair and replacement of disaster-damaged public facilities on Oahu and Kauai.

About 532 homes were damaged or destroyed in the historic rains that swamped Oahu and Kauai between April 13 and 16.

An inundation of 50 inches of rain in a 24-hour period in Waipa is being reviewed by the National Climatic Extremes Committee as a possible U.S. record.

U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie K. Hirono and Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Colleen Hanabusa — all Democrats — had urged Trump to swiftly approve Ige’s request for a disaster declaration.

Schatz’s office said the declaration qualifies Hawaii for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Public Assistance Program and its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

The office said it also makes U.S. Department of Agriculture emergency loans available for farmers and ranchers. People who lost their homes and are buying or rebuilding another home can receive mortgage assistance insurance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Federal Housing Administration homeowners at risk of foreclosure because of the disaster may stop or delay foreclosure by 90 days.