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Residents urged to report storm damage

The Maui News

Hawaii emergency officials are urging residents to use caution and document damages left behind by a Kona low weather system that has swamped some areas with 20 inches or more of rain since Friday and left many Maui residents without power and water.

While the storm was moving farther westward and the risk of rain had lowered for Maui County and Hawaii island, residents and visitors should remain vigilant and prepared, as the strong weather system could still spawn rain over the state through today, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency said.

After the storm caused widespread flooding, power outages, landslides and damage to homes, businesses and personal property, the agency is urging affected residents to return home only after authorities say it is safe to do so and to quickly take steps to document the damage once they return.

For insurance purposes, residents should take video or photographs of flood damage before cleaning up. Photos and other documentation also will be needed in the event that funding becomes available to assist with recovery from the storm.

After documenting damages, residents may begin cleanup and do not need to wait for a flood insurance adjuster or inspector to come to their homes. The agency also advised that people:

• Wear heavy boots, gloves and goggles during cleanup.

• Be aware of hidden structural damage, as floodwater may have weakened roads and building foundations.

• Avoid wading in floodwater which may be hiding debris, contaminated with sewage or electrically charged.

• Be aware of brown water advisories, which are issued by the state Department of Health to remind the public to avoid dirty, possibly contaminated water.

• Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by using generators, pressure washers or other gasoline-powered machinery outdoors at least 20 feet from doors, windows or vents.

Maui County residents can report storm-related damage by visiting mauicounty.gov. For questions, call the Maui Emergency Management Agency at (808) 270-7285.

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