Abercrombie Seeking Federal Help for $30.6 Million of Tsunami Damage

article top
Gov. Abercrombie

Gov. Neil Abercrombie is hoping to get federal aid for some of the $30.6 million of damages that occurred to Hawaii homes, businesses and property as a tsunami swept through the state on March 11.

Abercrombie on Thursday formally requested an Administrative Disaster Declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration to help Hawaii Island individuals, businesses and nonprofits with some of the more than $18.3 million of damage that occurred.


Eligible businesses will be able to see low-interest disaster loans from the SBA to help in repairing or replacing materials damaged by the tsunami.

Abercrombie’s office said damages sustained on other islands, including more than $3.3 million on Maui and more than $3.4 million on Oahu, did not qualify for disaster loans under SBA guidelines.

Abercrombie also said work on a request to Pres. Barack Obama for a Presidential Disaster Declaration is underway.

This declaration would enable counties (Hawai’i County, Maui County, and the City and County of Honolulu) to recoup some of the costs of rebuilding and repairing damaged public infrastructure, such as buildings and harbors.

In total, public infrastructure across the state suffered $8.5 million of damage from the early-morning tsunami.

“These are follow-up steps to help those affected by the tsunami. When I visited places that were hard hit like the Big Island, the first step was already being done and that is the sharing of the aloha spirit and communities pulling together to take care of one another,” said Abercrombie in a statement.

“We are looking at every option that may be available to provide financial assistance to those who need it.”

The State Civil Defense is also coordinating with state and county agencies to open a Disaster Assistance and Recovery Center at the Old Kona Airport Event Pavilion, located at 75-5530 Kuakini Highway, from Tuesday, March 29 to Wednesday, March 30 at 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

State agencies and community groups will be there to answer questions from residents and businesses affected by the tsunami on a wide range of programs and services.

The $8.5 million of damage to public infrastructure includes:

  • Hawaii County – $2.3 million
  • Maui County – $2.7 million
  • City and County of Honolulu – $3.4 million
  • Kauai County – $60,400

Damages to businesses and residents’ property includes:

  • West Hawai’i businesses – $13.5 million
  • Hawai’i Island homes – $2.5 million
  • Maui County homes – $600,000
  • Private Property (including boats) – $5.5 million