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Expert to discuss tropical cyclones at West Maui community disaster planning meeting

By Staff | May 18, 2017

LAHAINA – West Maui’s community disaster planning meetings will continue on Thursday, May 18, with a forecaster from the Central Pacific Hurricane Center as the guest speaker.

The Hawaii Hazards and Resilience Program (HHARP) event begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Lahaina Civic Center Amphitheater.

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.

West Maui Taxpayers Association is working with the Maui Emergency Management Agency, The Pacific Disaster Center and the State Emergency Management Agency to develop a customized disaster plan designed to meet West Maui’s specific needs.

According to WMTA, the isolation from the island’s major hospital and airport due to frequent road closures, fires and flooding have highlighted the need for special preparedness planning.

WMTA Vice President Joe Pluta said the HHARP meetings have been going well, with 54 people signed up on the participation/interest list.

The first five modules of the HHARP program identify and discuss the details of various types of disasters: flood, fire, earthquake, tsunami and this week’s topic, tropical cyclones.

Next month’s meeting on June 15 will cover shelters and preparedness.

“The theory is that to better prepare for disasters, you must first understand them… next will be how to examine the steps to be able to prepare to deal with them and identifying existing resources accordingly,” he noted.

“Our community is diverse, and we need everyone’s participation to develop community plans,” said county Emergency Management Officer Anna Foust, describing the HHARP process.

“Communities that are capable of caring for themselves during and after natural hazard events are better equipped to recover from the negative health, environmental and economic impacts so common after a disaster.”

The meeting is free and open to the public. There is ample parking on the lot by the district courthouse adjacent to the entry gate.

More information on WMTA and disaster preparedness can be found at www.westmaui.org.

HHARP meetings are also scheduled for July 20, Aug. 17, Sept. 21, Oct. 19 and Nov. 16.