Wildfires are roaring through Hawaii’s historic Lahaina
Hawaii Governor Josh Green warned people that the death toll could rise by 10 to 20 people per day as officials continue to search for survivors and victims.
“We’re prepared for a lot of sad stories,” Mr Green told CBS on Monday. “They’ll find 10 to 20 people every day, maybe, until they’re done. And it might take 10 days. It’s impossible to guess, really.”
Maui firefighters are working around the clock to try and contain flare-ups as local authorities work with federal agencies to identify people who have died in devastating fires.
So far, 99 people have died, making the wildfires the deadliest in modern US history.
Most of these victims are not known because of the condition of their bodies after the fire. Maui Police Chief John Pelletier urged residents who have missing family members to submit their DNA to help with identification.
Harsh conditions made search and recovery difficult. The cadaver dogs have examined approximately 3 percent of the search area, and are expected to continue their efforts this week.
Maui residents have only minutes to escape wildfires. Now they are desperately searching for the pets left behind
When wildfires swept through Lahaina without warning on Tuesday, residents were forced to grab what they could and flee.
At least 99 residents died, more than 2,000 buildings were destroyed, and an estimated 1,000 people remain unaccounted for.
Hundreds of families who escaped the inferno began the desperate task of finding pets left behind in the chaos.
Facebook groups are filled with photos of cats, dogs, rabbits, horses and exotic birds, and many remain missing nearly a week after the deadliest fire in the United States in more than a century.
“I am absolutely heartbroken,” one pet owner wrote on the Lost & Found Animals of Maui Fires group along with photos of her cats Lily Jupiter, Puma and Tiger.
Megan Sheets15 August 2023 01:00
The death toll reached 99
The death toll from the wildfires in Hawaii has risen to 99, up three from this morning.
The latest update on Monday afternoon comes hours after Governor Josh Green of Hawaii warned that the toll was likely to rise “significantly”, with about 1,000 people still missing.
Megan Sheets15 August 2023 00:00
Watch: Maui evacuees seek safety in hotel as fires ravage Lahaina community
Maui evacuees seek safety in hotel as fires ravage Lahaina community
Ariana Baio15 August 2023 00:00
Voices: I live in Maui and this is what we lost in the fires
“It was raining on the North Shore of Maui this morning where I live. But the rain came too late, and in the wrong place, to help the Maui Fire Department save the historic town of Lahaina.
I am an English expat, naturalized in the US and the Hawaiian islands after 17 years. My house is Maui. As a Maui resident, married into a family born and raised on the island, the loss of Lahaina’s Old Town will be devastating.
First and foremost is the loss of life. Maui is a small island; everyone knows everyone, or at least knows someone who knows everyone.
We still don’t know who is missing, but that will be filtered in the next few days on “coconut wireless” (the Hawaiian version of the grapevine). These losses will be felt locally for at least a generation, and we pray that no one we know personally is involved.”
Ariana Baio14 August 2023 23:00
The Maui Police Department has suspended non-essential individuals from the placard program
The Maui Police Department said they will suspend non-essential individuals and non-Maui residents from receiving placards that allow them access to distribution centers.
“Due to the overwhelming demand from non-essential individuals and non-Maui residents flooding distribution areas we are suspending the placard program until further notice,” the Maui Police Department wrote.
“We will continue to serve the essential workers and residents of West Maui as always.”
The placard program allows people to get to their West Maui homes.
Ariana Baio14 August 2023 22:30
Maui residents are being contacted by investors trying to buy their land
The fires in Maui, Hawaii have not yet been contained but residents of Lahaina are worried that investors will try to take advantage of the disaster for land development.
The wildfires that ravaged Maui last week left scars on towns like Lahaina where 80 percent of the town’s structures were damaged or destroyed. Hawaii governor Josh Green estimated that Hawaii lost approximately $5.6 billion and it could cost just to rebuild Maui.
But while thousands of people living on the islands are trying to get up and find shelter, investors see an opportunity.
In a video posted on Instagram, a member of the nonprofit organization Kāko’o Haleakalā claims that real estate investors have been calling Lahaina residents who lost their homes, offering buy their land.
“I’m very disappointed with the inventors and realtors who are calling families who lost their homes with offers to buy their land,” the person said in the video.
“How do you do that in our community today.”
It is not clear which investors or relators the person in Kāko’o Haleakalā’s video is talking about.
Ariana Baio14 August 2023 22:00
Hawaii wildfire survivors decry warning system failures as officials struggle to ID victims
Just a week ago Maui’s neighborhoods were bustling and surrounded by colorful foliage. Today, ash and soot covered almost every surface, buildings and houses were destroyed, and nearly 100 people died.
Fast-moving wildfires hit unknown residents of Maui and other parts of Hawaii last week leading to destruction and deaths.
While some people managed to escape the fires before they engulfed the towns, others had no choice but to flee to the sea to prevent themselves from burning.
As of early Monday morning, the death toll was at 96 people, with most of those remaining unidentified due to the raging fire.
Now, as officials work to identify the victims and try to find hundreds of other missing people, locals are wondering why emergency alerts weren’t sounded and what could have been done to reduce the damage
Ariana Baio14 August 2023 21:30
The Red Cross provides an update on their efforts
The American Red Cross posted an update on their response efforts on Monday, August 14.
The organization says they are working 24/7 with partners to provide shelter, food and comfort for victims of the fires in Hawaii.
“Recovering from a wildfire of this magnitude will take time and the entire community response to come together to support survivors,” the Red Cross wrote.
More than 250 trained Red Cross disaster workers from across the US have flocked to Hawaii to help with relief efforts.
These trained workers support emergency shelters on the islands of Maui and Ohau.
“Since the start of the fires, the Red Cross and partners have provided more than 3,600 shelters overnight for people seeking refuge in 11 emergency shelters.”
According to the organization, more than 1300 local residents have started training to help help others.
Ariana Baio14 August 2023 21:00
60-year-old victim of the fire
Carole Hartley, 60, from Grand Bay, Alabama was among the victims who died in the Maui fires.
Hartley’s sister, Donna Gardner Hartley posted on Facebook that her brother’s body was found on the property she shared with her husband, Charles Paxton.
Mr Paxton and Hartley were separated when they tried to evacuate because of the fires.
“The wind is fierce and ever-changing, [Mr Paxton] saying they were inside a dark smoke that felt like a tornado and they couldn’t see anything,” Ms Gardner Hartley wrote.
“They kept calling each other names. He was on one side of the house getting the truck (loaded) with critical items and the back of the one he crashed into exploded.
Mr Paxton was badly burned in the fires but was found by friends and treated for his injuries.
Ariana Baio14 August 2023 20:30
White House defends Hawaii wildfire response, says President Biden ‘deeply concerned’
The White House defended President Joe Biden’s federal response to Hawaii’s devastating wildfires on Monday, saying the president was “deeply concerned” and sending federal aid.
Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre spent the first half of Monday’s press briefing focusing on Mr. Biden’s federal action to help Maui officials and residents.
“You heard from [Mr Biden] on Thursday, you will certainly hear from him continuously this week,” said Ms Jean-Pierre. “Look, this is something the President is clearly concerned about.”
Ms Jean-Pierre’s statement came in defense of Mr Biden who has faced criticism for what some believe is an emotionally callous approach to dealing with the fires.
Despite declaring the fires a major disaster last week, Mr Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris have plans to visit Hawaii which has led to criticism.
Ariana Baio14 August 2023 20:00