Maui has been reeling from deadly and devastating wildfires. Here’s what you need to know
The wildfires raging in Maui could be the worst natural disaster the state of Hawaii has ever seen, Gov. Josh Green said Thursday, as flames have killed dozens of people, displaced thousands and torn apart communities.
At least 55 people have died in the fire, although officials say that number is expected to rise as search and rescue efforts continue across the island.
None of the fires burning on Maui are fully contained, officials said Thursday.
These are the latest news:
Thousands of people are still without electricity or communication equipment. It says about 11,000 people across Maui were without power late Thursday PowerOutage.us. Officials said the outage of key mobile phone, internet and radio networks prevented emergency teams from contacting those in need. Outages prevent some from contacting missing family members or providing status updates to loved ones. Networks may need to be repaired Days or even weeksAnd officials rely on satellite phones to relay emergency information.
The number of missing is unclear: Authorities are still trying to find out how many people are still missing. A stranger On Maui, the island’s police chief, John Pelletier, said Thursday, citing difficulties in communicating without cell phones or radio signals. A Search and Rescue Team California will join teams from the U.S. Coast Guard, Navy and other agencies already searching by land, sea and helicopter.
Firefighters continue to work to bring the inferno under control: A wildfire in Lahaina has been brought under control 80% delay on Thursday (local time), Maui County officials said. Firefighters have made progress in extinguishing two major blazes on the island. The Pulehu fire, located further east in Kihei, was 70% contained as of Thursday, and another fire in the foothills of Maui’s central highlands is still being assessed.
Historic Lahaina “burned to the ground”: Lahaina Town, Maui, a tourist center and historic whaling town, has been destroyed. Mayor Richard Bissen said Thursday, “There’s nothing left. Everything’s burned. Gov. Green estimates that about 80% of the community is destroyed. CNN’s chief weather correspondent Bill Weir described the scene: “All the iconic buildings are flattened or charred skeletons of their former selves.”
Govt rushes to provide housing to thousands of people: “Several hundreds of homes” were destroyed by the fire, Green said, leaving Hawaii officials scrambling to find long-term housing for thousands of displaced residents. The state will begin by finding 2,000 rooms for evacuees, he said. Residents with vacant rooms or rental properties are urged to come forward to provide housing to those in need.
About 30,000 people have flown out of Maui: As officials urged travelers to leave the island, more than 14,000 people were evacuated from the island on Wednesday, and another 14,500 were expected to be moved by the end of Thursday, the Hawaii Tourism Authority said. These people were sent to other Hawaiian islands or returned to their homes.
The road to recovery will be long and expensive: Greene said Thursday that it will take years for Maui to recover and rebuild after this week’s disaster, and it will come at a high cost. “It’s going to be billions of dollars, no doubt,” he said. President Joe Biden signed a disaster declaration Thursday that will direct significant federal resources to rescue Maui and the Big Island.