Hawaii Foodbank President Ron Mizutani Comes Full Circle
Jodie Chiemi Ching
This past April’s devastating floods forced residents of Kaua‘i’s North Shore to once again muster their inner strength and power through the crisis. It was almost a repeat of September 1992, when Hurricane ‘Iniki, a category 4 storm, came ashore on the Garden Island, packing sustained winds of 145 miles per hour that tore rooftops off of buildings and downed trees and power lines throughout the island.
By contrast, the storm that wreaked havoc on Kaua‘i’s North Shore in April was largely a rain issue. But the 28 inches of rain that deluged the island for 24 hours straight triggered major landslides and flooding, cutting off residents from the rest of the island.
At least five landslides shut down Kühiö Highway, the island’s main thoroughfare, forcing the Kaua‘i Fire Department to use jet skis to rescue stranded residents. Houses were swept off of their foundations and Hanalei Valley looked like a huge lake. These were some of the postings on Facebook in the days after the April 14 flood.
Meanwhile in Honolulu, veteran KHON newsman Ron Mizutani was wrapping up a long career in television news and gearing up for a new role as president and CEO of the nonprofit Hawaii Foodbank.