$1 million in Covid grant awarded to assist Pacific Islanders in Hawaii

Washington – The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs is announcing the award of $1,033,100 in CARES Act grant funding to help Pacific Islander communities in Hawaii that have been disproportionately impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The funds will be administered by We are Oceania, a non-profit organization with culture and language expertise and liaises between Hawai’i state agencies and families from the Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Palau.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has been especially challenging for certain Pacific Islander communities in Hawai’i and these funds will provide much needed support,” said OIA Director and Acting Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Nikolao Pula. “We are pleased to be able to leverage the expertise and experience of We are Oceania to combat and fight the COVID-19 pandemic that has disproportionately affected Pacific Islanders.”

The Honolulu Civil Beat reported last November that Pacific Islanders in Hawai’i are more than twice as likely to die from or be hospitalized by the coronavirus than other racial and ethnic groups, after adjusting for age and gender, according to data from the Hawai’i State Health Department. The report indicated that Chuukese, Marshallese, and Samoans are among the most impacted.