Disaster Relief for the Barcco Family

Cristhian and his wife Nao lived in New York City when Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast. The devastation led them to leave their jobs to safer and more family-friendly shores. Their search landed them on Hawai‘i Island where they lived in a cottage on land that they were hired to cultivate in exchange for housing and a small salary. With their savings, they purchased a parcel of land where they planned to build their own home. They could never have imagined the change in life that would occur six years later.

It began with a 6.9-magnitude earthquake. Cristhian, Nao and Emilia, their four-year old daughter were shaken, and very concerned about the increase in activity from the Kilauea Volcano. Over the next few days as the earthquakes intensified the family began to hear a growling sound and feel movement under their home as if bombs were going off. On May 13, they received a call from Civil Defense notifying them to evacuate immediately. The lava was coming.



It’s been a difficult last seven months for the family who has moved to their own property in Orchidland and have been staying in a tent. With no running water or electricity, they are catching rain water to bathe and wash dishes. And though they were able to save some of their belongings, they have the continuous responsibility of keeping their items safe from thieves.

Donations received by Catholic Charities Hawaii went toward the purchase of building materials to erect a gate to secure access to their property and gift cards to buy gas, clothing, household items. They hope to continue moving forward on the building of a small home with a roof and a water catchment system.

The family expressed their appreciation, saying, “Thank you, thank you, thank you. We can’t thank you enough. Because of you we feel safer and were able to build a foundation on our property. We are very moved by how many people offered help.”