The island of Maui, known for its picturesque landscapes and cultural heritage, is currently facing one of its most challenging periods. Wildfires have wreaked havoc across the region, leading to significant casualties and extensive property damage.
The official figures, as provided by Hawaii Gov. Josh Green, confirm that the death toll has reached 59, up from an earlier count of 55. Tragically, many of these deaths occurred in open areas, suggesting that residents were caught while attempting to escape the blaze. With comprehensive search operations still in progress, there are concerns that the number of fatalities could increase.
Lahaina, a historic town and a pivotal economic center in Maui, has borne the brunt of the disaster. Preliminary assessments indicate that about 80% of the town has been obliterated by the fires. The scale of destruction is such that residents returning to the area are finding their once-familiar surroundings transformed into a charred landscape.
In response to the escalating crisis, specialized search and rescue teams, accompanied by cadaver dogs from California and Washington, have been deployed. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is actively involved, providing essential supplies to support the affected populace.
There have been questions about the efficacy of Maui’s emergency response mechanisms. Notably, the island’s warning sirens were not activated at the onset of the fires. While other alert systems, such as mobile phone notifications and media broadcasts, were triggered, the absence of siren alerts has raised significant concerns.
A few GOP members voiced their frustrations with the Biden administration over its concern with Ukraine, instead of helping out Hawaii. “Joe Biden is still focused on sending our money to the people of Ukraine?” Kari Lake tweeted. “There are American citizens suffering right now!”
Marjorie Taylor Greene wrote, “FEMA is underfunded by $4 BILLION, Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) is only funded $1 per Georgian, Hawaii’s Lahaina is in desperate need of help from devastating fire killing 50+ people, and America is broke. Biden wants to send another $24 BILLION to Ukraine. NO!!”
Lahaina, Hawaii is burning!@JoeBiden is still focused on sending our money to the people of Ukraine???
There are American citizens suffering right now! https://t.co/2sXEmzg3bz
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) August 10, 2023
FEMA is underfunded by $4 BILLION, Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) is only funded $1 per Georgian, Hawaii’s Lahaina is in desperate need of help from devastating fire killing 50+ people, and America is broke.
Biden wants to send another $24 BILLION to Ukraine.
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) August 11, 2023
A federal disaster declaration has been sanctioned, facilitating the allocation of federal funds for recovery and relief operations.
Recent news suggest that the potential threat of wildfires had been downplayed by Hawaiian officials in the past. Despite evident increasing risks, the state’s preparedness for such a large-scale disaster now appears to have been inadequate.
In a commendable act of philanthropy, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, along with his fiancée Lauren Sánchez, has pledged a donation of $100 million to aid the recovery efforts in Maui. Beyond the immediate devastation, there are growing concerns about the long-term economic repercussions, especially considering the importance of tourism to Maui’s economy.
Terrifying footage showing people jumping into the ocean to escape the fires in Maui 😳 pic.twitter.com/Z0yJRlLri3
— Wow Terrifying (@WowTerrifying) August 11, 2023
— AccuWeather (@accuweather) August 11, 2023
Biden is giving $25 Billion to corrupt ukraine as Hawaii suffers like this!! pic.twitter.com/tMi4DsKV05
— 🇺🇸ProudArmyBrat (@leslibless) August 10, 2023
Maria Lanakila Catholic Church completely unharmed by fire while everything around it is burnt to the ground. pic.twitter.com/WCsw9b4U9T
— Catholic Arena (@CatholicArena) August 11, 2023
Aerial photography showing the devastation caused by the fires in Hawaii
And biden send it's billions of dollars to Zelinsky – Ukraine pic.twitter.com/e6kKsewwTR
— 🇷🇺 Эсса Али 🆉 Essa Ali 🇦🇪 (@ESSA_A1I) August 11, 2023