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‘We’re like the forgotten,’ nearly 100 Kelawea residents living with no water, internet
By Nikki Schenfeld,
HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Kelawea area in Lahaina was nearly wiped off the map by the fire.
Of the roughly 500 structures between the bypass to the smokestack and between Lahainaluna Road and Komo Mai, less than 100 are still standing.
And most of the structures have been deemed safe to live in by officials, but residents within Kelawea told KHON2, they feel like they’ve been forgotten.
“There’s more than 100 people actually living here right now,” said Steve McQuwen Molina, who lives in the area. “There’s some people who come to clean their area and leave, but mostly it’s aunties who are staying, they don’t want to leave their house.”
The area is off Lahainaluna Road, and blocked by the National Guard. Only residents or people dropping off supplies are allowed in, but the donations are starting to dwindle.
The area is also in a water advisory and they have no clean water.
“We need water to bathe, cook, we need a lot of water to use because we cannot use the water,” explained Molina.
“We need food, batteries, lights, there’s no internet, people want to come back to their homes here but there’s no internet,” he added.
Homes in the area either have a red or green sign that says if the home or structure is safe to live or not.
The homes that remain standing are tucked away from view by the bypass; even people like Rick Nava, who lived on these streets, didn’t know people were still here.
Nava, who is on Mayor Richard Bissen’s Lahaina Advisory Team, recalled leaving in a hurry when the fire began that afternoon. Many of Nava and Molina’s neighbors and friends did not survive the fire.
“I didn’t know that until today that people were living here, now I’m aware and I’m going to be visiting the area a lot more because my house is only three streets from all these homes and that is the area where I came out from the fire,” Nava said.
Molina said he called Nava to see if he could help get some dust screens put around the neighborhood since many kupuna are living there and there’s no protection when it’s windy from the toxins blowing into their homes.
The community said they need vitamins, help with donations, healthy foods, lots of water, internet, masks, and hopefully dust screens.
The fire started directly uphill from Kelawea, leaving residents minutes to flee.
Steve lost family members and many of the victims who have been identified like 14-year-old Keiyero Fuentes were his neighbors too.
“We’re like the forgotten, it’s like a cemetery back here, we see it every day,” Molina said.
Molina uses his bike to get supplies and drop them off to his neighbors.
He’s been using his own money to get resources to his neighbors.
KHON2 reached out to the county and MEMA to see if dust screens can be added.
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People who want to help with supplies or internet in this area can text at Steve 808-385-7970.