Hawaii declares state of emergency after heavy rains cause severe flooding

World·New

Catastrophic flooding from a stream swollen by heavy rains prompted officials to order evacuations from a town north of Honolulu on Tuesday, just one day after fears of a dam breach resulted in the same on the island of Maui.

A mudslide leaves Kamehameha Highway coated near Pokole Point on Tuesday near Kahaluu, Hawaii. The entire state was under a flash flood watch amid heavy rains expected to last through Wednesday morning.(Craig T. Kojima/Honolulu Star-Advertiser/The Associated Press)

Hawaii Governor David Ige declared an emergency in the U.S. state after heavy rains brought floods, landslides and fear of dam failures, and authorities ordered the evacuation of several thousand people from communities threatened by rising waters.

The move came after a dam overflowed on the island of Maui, forcing evacuations and destroying homes, with the dam's "unsatisfactory" condition leading to it being scheduled for removal this year, the land department has said.

"The emergency proclamation makes state general funds available that can be used quickly and efficiently to help those impacted by the severe weather," Ige said on Tuesday.

Poor weather was expected to run until Friday, he added, and flood advisories stayed in place for a second day

The emergency declaration covers the counties of Hawai'i, Maui, Kalawao, O'ahu and Kaua'i, the governor's office said in a statement, while the disaster relief period runs until May 8.

Floodwaters stream down a street in Hauula, Hawaii, Tuesday, in this image obtained from a social media video. (Adam Palmer/Social Media/Reuters)

The Honolulu Department of Emergency Management directed people to leave Haleiwa, a community of a few thousand people to the north of state capital Honolulu.

Heavy rain damages roads in Maui

Hawaii News Now reported that two people were swept away in raging waters on Tuesday. One of them, a 27-year-old man, was rescued by authorities. A search for the other would resume on Wednesday, according to the report.

There were no other immediate reports of injuries or casualties.

In Maui, heavy rains damaged roads, leaving them impassable, with one bridge completely washed out and another displaced, the governor's office said.

State emergency management officials had said the rains led to the cresting of the Kaupakalua dam in the northern region of Haiku, prompting authorities to open evacuation shelters and urge people not to return home.

Six homes were heavily damaged or destroyed, said Maui mayor Michael Victorino.

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