Kauia County, Hawaii consists of the islands of Kauia and Niihau. Kauia is a 555-square-mile island with a population of about 57,000 people. Lihue, the largest city on Kauia, is home to an estimated 12,000 people. Kauia is one of the wettest spots on Earth with an annual rainfall averaging 400 inches. It has seven microclimates including desert-like conditions on the west to tropical rain forests in the interior. Many species of endangered or threatened birds reside on the island. Nicknamed "The Garden Island," for its lush, green appearance, Kauia attracts one million tourists per year.
Niihau lies to the west side of Kauia. The island also serves to block the trade wind rain clouds that keep Kauia green. It is a 73-square-mile island that is privately owned by the Robinson Family. Niihau is called "The Forbidden Island," because it is off limits to everyone except its 300 or so native Hawaiian residents and guests of its owners. The residents raise cattle and sheep, cultivate bees, and collect colorful see shells to make leis. In this nineteenth century lifestyle, Niihau maintains the spirit of old Hawaii.
Hurricanes, floods, and tsunamis threaten Kauia County each year. The county reduces its risks with extremely active mitigation efforts. (FEMA, 1999) The entire island of Kauia is equipped with sirens that are sounded when danger approaches. Residents with hearing impairments are alerted by designated organization members going door to door. Emergency shelters, consisting of schools, community centers, and hotels, are set up for hurricane events. Kauia also has public awareness programs to inform residents of what to do in preparation for hurricane. Even with all of this mitigation...
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Tabrah, R. (1980). Hawaii: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., p. 21.
Knapp, D. (1992, September) Hurricane Iniki hits Kauia. CNN, [http://www.cnnsf/newsvault/output/inikihur.html]
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