‘Those Puna people’
As Puna lava flow evacuees remain displaced (many off island) for more than three months, it has come to my attention that our local politicians have not requested (or even know of) the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance program.
The TSA program provides lodging for disaster victims by paying hotels and motels directly for rooms to be used by pre-qualified individuals from designated disaster areas. … TSA provides direct, temporary shelter as a result of a federal disaster declaration and is authorized by Section 403 of the Stafford Act.
Approximately 125,000 Hurricane Maria victims displaced to the mainland have been receiving these benefits for 10 months now. This is a basic “next step” our Hawaii government officials should have made in May.
But, then I would bet it is because the hospitality industry has made it clear they do not want “those Puna people” in or near their facilities. Much better to keep them contained in their own environment.
Check into it, elected officials.
It takes a volcano
It takes a volcano erupting under our island to stir us all. Like a delicate web stretched over the whole of our Big Island, Hawaii, we are all feeling the vibration, in varying degrees, of her, Madame Pele’s, emergence.
Beginning in lower Puna with quakes, tremors and cracks in the road, to gases coming up between those widening cracks, to jets of lava, to fountains of lava moving into yards, bumping up against houses, devouring those homes, or moving on. Soon we were giving number names to those fissures as new ones emerge.
She has moved from giant plumes of lava (the biggest we are calling fissure 8), into a huge “river of lava” rushing faster than we can run, pouring through forests, orchards, farmlands, more homes.
With the dropping of the lava lake from our Kilauea crater, the earth began to shake and quake at 4,000 feet. Our geologists tell us that the lava moving underground (they are not even sure the exact course) keeps flowing down, down to lower Puna, emerging from the earth, gushing and roaring to demolish land we’ve loved and will no longer see in order to create new land.
We are at almost three months of this new now. Some have lost homes, property, livelihoods; some have lost fresh air to breathe. Ash has rained down, the ground has shook us out of our dreams into the truth of impermanence. All things change. New life comes from death and destruction. New seeds are released. All can become new.
It takes a volcano to learn to let go of what we knew was true to open us to all that is possible.
Debra Whiteflower Serrao