Navy-Army water crisis listings add to victims’ frustration

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HONOLULU (KHON2) – The military now claims 24 military housing communities are affected by the water crisis over the navy’s fuel and water systems. This is more than double the areas listed by the Navy as being affected by contamination. Always investigate digs deeper into the gap.

Officials say “impacted” or “affected” does not mean “contaminated” – another mixed message on conflicting maps and lists that grow longer by the day. People unable to use water in their homes for weeks share their frustrations with KHON2.

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For the 93,000 people on the Navy’s water system through Pearl Harbor and the surrounding section of Oahu, it’s not just their water that isn’t clear. Whether their housing community is affected is contested depending on where you look.

To this day, the Navy still shows only 11 areas on the list of “affected” areas, including Aliamanu and Red Hill, where residents first alerted to the smell of fuel in their water last month.

“We still have a plethora of families coming in every day asking for help that is not on this map,” said Kate Needham of the Armed Forces Housing Advocates. “We’ve been saying all along that we probably think it’s more common than you think.”

The Army’s list is more than twice as long as the Navy’s – 24 “affected areas” so far (also renamed Monday to “affected areas” instead of “affected areas”) with locations this far apart as Manana Housing, Pearl City Peninsula and now Iroquois Point added.

LEFT: Navy chart as of 12/13/21 on its Water Crisis website, still reflecting the “As of December 6” date in the image; RIGHT: Map of the KHON2 army obtained, showing geographically the 24 “affected areas” of its list of water crisis websites as of 12/13/21

The maps also show the glaring difference – the Navy only highlights a few areas, while a resulting KHON2 Army map shows a much wider scope when its list of impacted areas is presented geographically.

“Army families are kind of singing the praises of the military right now,” said Needham, “And Navy families, Air Force families are feeling a bit left behind. account, they feel even more confused. “

The way an Air Force spouse described his family is confusing. They live in the Marines’ Manana Housing and say the Navy water made them sick, but only the army list recognizes Manana.

“My question is, what data does the army have that the navy does not? What are we doing? “Said the resident of Manana.” It is so confusing and it makes you feel like a crazy person. I am not inventing symptoms. I have papers, I went to emergency.

KHON2 asked both the Navy and the Army, why this discrepancy?

“The Navy is taking careful precautions to mark and alert all affected areas,” a Navy spokesperson said. “While we understand the military is reaching out to residents in all regions to provide support, this does not indicate contaminated water.”

As for the army? They said at a recent town hall that the majority of tests are inconclusive or fail to detect pollutants, but people can self-certify impact to get help and accommodation benefits as a precaution. . A member of the army recently asked a town hall panel: “Are all the affected areas contaminated?”

“No,” replied the sergeant. General Kirk Gibbs of the US Army Corps of Engineers. “Testing is underway, flushing is underway but no, not all affected areas are contaminated… the major areas of concern I focused on in my briefing are AMR and Red Hill.”

Yet the best medic in the military here – Major-General Michael Place of 18e Medical Command – Said Prevention is better than cure: “Regardless of the location, if you find yourself in an affected area, certainly if you have symptoms showing symptoms, you or a member of your family, you must assume that ‘it is contaminated. “

“It means I don’t play with my family’s life, only to ingest this water and then find out that someone has missed something,” said Robert Klinehoffer, a resident of the Pearl City Peninsula. “So until I see tests that prove everything is free and clear, my wife and I are not going to use it. “

Klinehoffer is a military civilian who, like other contractors, is in limbo over relief options.

Army illustrations clearly show how the entire Navy system is interconnected for water distribution. Even with two out of three wells closed, the pipes continue to run like cobwebs in the surrounding areas.

“It feels good, I think in some cases the map gets bigger, because people feel like what they went through is now being seen and what they say is justified,” Needham said. . “But at the end of the day, people get mad because people outside the community tell them they’re crazy or hysterical. And as each day goes by, we find out exactly what our organization has been saying all the time: No one here is making this up. It’s real.”

Almost a week ago, Hawaii’s congressional delegation called on Governor David Ige to ask President Biden to declare the emergency.

“The governor has yet to send a request for a presidential statement,” Ige’s spokesperson told KHON2. “I don’t know if he intends to do it. He is working with the GA office on this.

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“The decision on whether to declare a federal emergency rests with the federal government, which has the overriding responsibility and authority over this system, which is owned and operated by the US Navy,” Ige spokesperson said. . “We were awaiting information from the GA office on what a state of emergency proclamation might accomplish (if any) in this situation.”

“I hope we can get this state of emergency declared so that all families receive, you know, a wide range of care that is the same,” Needham said. “Families are starting to crumble. They are completely overwhelmed. They are exhausted.

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