Hawaii woman has made it out of Gaza

A Hawaii woman who was stuck in Gaza when the Israel-Hamas conflict erupted crossed the border Wednesday and was safe in Egypt.

Ramona Okumura’s family said they received a text from her at 4:03 a.m. Hawaii time. Her all-caps text read: “ACROSS PALESTINE BORDER ON SHUTTLE TO EGYPTIAN BORDER.”


A followup text at 7:30 a.m. HST said she was on the way to Cairo.

“Luv to everyone who helped get me out. Pray for the people of Gaza who now don’t have us as shields from harm. Good night,” she texted.

Okumura was one of hundreds of foreign nationals who were allowed to leave Gaza on Wednesday after more than three weeks of war.

Okumura, 71, was born and raised in Honolulu and later moved to Seattle, where she worked as a prosthetics technician and lecturer at the University of Washington before retiring in 2017.

Okumura has family on Oahu and the Big Island.

Her niece, Akemi Hiatt of Honolulu, said she was “very relieved” to learn her aunt had crossed the border.

“We heard that there would be an opportunity for some civilians to evacuate,” Hiatt told the Seattle Times. “And so given the nature of the last three weeks, we really reserved a lot of hope until we knew, first, that she was on that list, that she was waiting at the border, that she had entered.”

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