County unprepared for hurricane season

As the remnants of Hurricane Barbara pass by, I am reminded once again of the state and county’s woeful lack of shelter space, food, water and basic necessities in the event of a strong hurricane hitting Maui. While it is incumbent upon everyone to make their own preparations, where are those in vulnerable shoreline areas supposed to go to avoid the storm surge? Where are the homeless supposed to go? Where are those whose homes aren’t hurricane resistant supposed to go? More importantly, in the event of category 4 or 5 hurricane hitting Maui, where will the newly homeless masses go for shelter, food and water?

The current hurricane plans are a joke that rely on our past luck. But with climate change, we might not be so lucky in the future. A couple shelters (not necessarily hurricane resistant) open up manned by the Red Cross. But, if you go there be sure to bring your own food, water, bedding, cot, etc., because all you should expect is some floor space.

The county needs to do an assessment of all public buildings strong enough (or that could be modified) to serve as hurricane-resistant shelters along with privately owned facilities (such as churches) whose owners are willing to open up as shelters. Additionally, the county needs to stockpile cots, shelf-stable food and water, and other basic necessities should a strong hurricane come our way. The state and county need to carve out a piece of the budget for real hurricane preparation.

Kevin Bridges

Kahului