Hurricane Iselle, the strongest hurricane ever to hit the Big Island, made landfall on August 12, causing power outages for some 21,800 people, as well as taking down trees and causing damage to many houses. The hardest hit area was the Puna District, home to more than 40,000 people. Damage assessments conducted in the aftermath of the storm indicated that 250 homes were damaged, with some being lifted off of their foundations due to storm surge. It took nearly five weeks to restore power to all residents of the Big Island, and the storm caused damage in the amount of $66 million.
Team Rubicon deployed 32 members to the Puna District of Hawaii, providing damage assessments, mapping, volunteer coordination, work order planning, and debris-clearing capabilities to the Hawaii state government and impacted communities. Team Rubicon directly assisted homeowners with damage assessments and with the search and recovery of personal property. Additionally, the volunteers integrated with emergency management personnel at the State Emergency Operations CEnter to provide specialized situational awareness support and serve as the primary coordinating agency for volunteer organizations responding to the disaster.
Airlink provided round trip flights for 11 volunteers, to include Team Rubicon’s Incident ManagementChief, chain saw teams, logistics specialists and manual laborers, which greatly enabled and accelerate response and assessment operations to for the entire county. The Incident Management Chief and volunteers were critical the the success of this operation by developing the local Team Rubicon capability to respond to disasters.