Recognizing West Maui's vulnerability in the event of a disaster, county and state agencies are holding meetings to improve emergency preparedness here.
The isolated West Side is now part of the Hawaii Hazards Awareness and Resilience Program (HHARP). The program helps communities prepare to be self-reliant during and after natural hazard events, improve their ability to take care of their own needs and reduce the negative impacts of disasters.
HHARP is a series of monthly workshops, presented by subject-matter experts, to provide education for hazard understanding and offer tools and information resources to guide community mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery planning.
The next meeting will be held on March 16 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the Lahaina Civic Center Amphitheater, and the subject is very relevant this winter.
Guest speaker Kevin Kodama, senior service hydrologist with the Honolulu Weather Forecast Office, National Weather Service, will discuss flood awareness, warning and response.
"Recent flooding on Maui should make this flooding topic one which you should know more about," noted the West Maui Taxpayers Association, which is working with the Maui Emergency Management Agency, Pacific Disaster Center and State Emergency Management Agency to develop a customized disaster plan designed to meet West Maui's specific needs.
HHARP meetings are free and open to the public.
"The West Maui Taxpayers Association invites you to join us and be a part of the solution to plans that may well be the reason why lives will be saved when disasters strike," the group emphasized. "Please put these meetings on your calendar and plan to attend!"
For more information on WMTA and disaster preparedness, visit www.westmaui.org.