Puna Still Struggles as Politicians Parachute In

The rural Big Island community was hit hardest by Tropical Storm Iselle, and now it’s the focal point of the race for U.S. Senate.

·By Nick Grube

PUNA, HAWAII — Many residents in this storm-ravaged community have gone days without water and electricity in their homes.

Food in the refrigerators is rotting and medication that must be kept cool, such as insulin, is in danger of going bad.

Ice is in high demand. So are water, juice and other perishable goods that will help get residents by until the power is back on.

Things have been like this here for several days, ever since Tropical Storm Iselle whipped through the forests tearing down trees and anything else in its path.

Food is handed out in Pahoa to those who have been hit hardest by Tropical Storm Iselle.

PF Bentley/Civil Beat

“It was just overwhelming,” said Puna resident Emily Henry. “We realized then we were on our own.”

Henry lives in Leilani Estates, outside of Pahoa on the east side of the Big Island. It’s one of several neighborhoods in this rural community that took the brunt of Iselle’s 65-mph wind gusts.

Henry said she’s been without power since Thursday, and has been relying on free food and water that neighbors and government officials have have been offering.

She’s not alone. Lines of cars backed up at community centers for the chance to pick up bottles of Hawaiian Springs water, Capri-Sun and ice.

Dozens of people attended a chili and rice feed that was put on by a Hurricane Iniki survivor who wanted to show gratitude for the support she received after that storm slammed into Kauai packing 140-mph winds.

And the community pool

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Nick Grube

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