The devastating wildfires, which have destroyed entire communities including Lahaina’s historic center, have now claimed the lives of 36 people.
The wildfires in Hawaii were announced as one of the deadliest natural disasters on Wednesday evening, an increase from the six that had been reported earlier. As they reported the death toll, firefighters continued fighting flames and searching for survivors. A county spokesperson confirmed that all victims were from Lahaina.
Civil Air Patrol flyovers and state flights earlier that day showed at least 271 damaged or destroyed structures within the community.
Three large fires, including one that is still burning in Lahaina, are uncontrollable and active on Maui. This makes it hard to estimate the full extent of damage. Lahaina is the area that appears to have been hardest hit. Access to this region has still been blocked.
Several other people have also been seriously injured.
Walmart has opened up its restrooms to evacuated people, and many have sought refuge in emergency shelters. Many others have spent the night in their vehicles.
Maui County mayor Richard Bissen said in a late-night video that we all feel the tragedy of a loved one. In the past couple of days, our businesses, families and tourists have been put to the test like never before.
In light of the magnitude of the tragedy, Biden extended his condolences on Wednesday to those who have lost their loved ones. He also offered support from the federal government to Maui County.
Hawaii requested that Biden declare a disaster as a result the wildfires. The White House confirmed early Thursday that Biden had approved the declaration of disaster for Hawaii. This will allow federal resources to supplement state and local efforts to recover.
Firefighters in Lahaina fought despite the fires on Wednesday. Residents and first responders searched the rubble for survivors. Lahaina residents remained to help even though their home had been destroyed. He said, “It’s going to be hard to overcome this. We’re doing our best.” It will take many years to fix. “This isn’t the worst part.”
Still, there are dead bodies floating along the seawall. Since last night, they have been floating on the seawall. “We have been trying to rescue people since last night.”
The boaters were told to keep an eye out for any other people in the water near Lahaina, where many people had jumped into the sea to escape the fires.
The Acting Governor announced the activation of Hawaii National Guard on Tuesday evening. Sylvia Luke will need months to fully assess the extent of damage.
She said at the news conference she held on Wednesday that “this is our entire state working together to help our family in Maui.” Wildfires have destroyed entire communities. Wildfires which destroyed businesses. “We didn’t think a hurricane without an impact could cause wildfires of this type.”
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