Evacuations ordered as heavy rains cause flooding and dam breach in Maui, Hawaii

Evacuations ordered as heavy rains cause flooding and dam breach in Maui, Hawaii

Emergency evacuations have been ordered for residents in the Haiku area in Maui, Hawaii, after heavy rainfall has caused a breach on the Kaupakalua Dam on Monday afternoon, March 8, 2021. Authorities also warned people that flooding in the area is "life-threatening".

Heavy rainfall in Maui has resulted in flooding and dam breach, leaving many residents trapped in their homes. The Maui Fire Department said it received more than a dozen calls for assistance.

Mayor Michael Victorino surveyed the flooding and reported that Kaupakalua Road was impassable in some areas. At least six homes were heavily damaged or destroyed.

After a breach was confirmed on the Kaupakalua Dam on Monday afternoon, Victorino urged people to evacuate from the Haiku area.

"For the safety of evacuees and emergency personnel, I urge everyone to stay away from the Haiku area," said the mayor. "MPD and Maui Fire and Rescue personnel are assisting those needing help."

"Please stay home, off the road, and away from streams, rivers, culverts, and drainage ditches even if they are currently dry."

"Visitors and residents should understand this is life-threatening flooding," he noted.

In a statement, Hawaii Governor David Ige remarked that the state is assisting Maui County as people evacuate. 

"The health and safety of our residents and visitors in Haiku and surrounding areas remain our top priority as heavy rain is posing a potential threat to the dam."

"Please stay out of the area until the danger has passed and continue to monitor local media for updates."

Ige added that the state and county authorities are closely monitoring the situation.

Featured image credit: Maggie T. Sutrov

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